Bird's eye view images of Syria's largest city posted on the Amnesty International website show blocks of apartments, mosques and shops leveled by more than a year of fighting between the Syrian military and anti-Assad forces. The satellite photos show an orchestrated campaign of aerial bombardment, demolition of houses and killing of civilians by Syria's army according to the London-based human rights group.
Gripped by more than a year of conflict the thriving commercial hub has been transformed into a series of battlefields and front lines, its residents struggling to live on amid the widespread disease, dirty water and crippling food shortages.In addition to being Syria's largest city, Aleppo is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world with the city [then known as Halab- NANESB!] being mentioned in Babylonian records around 2000 BC. A 2004 Census listed Aleppo's population as more then 2 million- the fighting has in Aleppo alone has killed at least 10,000 people with more than half of the casualties being civilians.
The aerial pictures show the extent of the destruction of the city, one of the oldest and most historically rich in the world. The Ancient City of Aleppo is a Unesco World Heritage site, this year placed on the UN organisation's list of World Heritage in Danger.
“Aleppo has been utterly devastated, its people fleeing the conflagration in huge numbers," said Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera.
Meanwhile, the Assad regime denied reports that rebels had ambushed president Bashr Al-Assad's motorcade on its way to a Damascus mosque.
Although Assad's troops have been able to successfully re-take many key parts of central Syria, foreign jihadists with the Jaish al-Muhajireen wa Ansar group seized an airfield outside of Aleppo on Monday. Besides taking the airfield, control of the northern part of Syria leaves supply lines to neighboring Turkey open for the rebels. Earlier in the year, rebel forces had managed to seize Damascus' international airport before being re-taken by the Syrian military. However, there were unconfirmed reports that fighters from the Free Syrian Army managed to shoot down an Iranian cargo plane on approach to the airport on Thursday- Iran and Russia have been key backers of the Al-Assad regime since the outbreak of Syria's Civil War.
The two year old Syrian civil war has claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people, drawn foreign fighters seeking to establish an shari'a governed Islamic state and at times has also threatened to spill over into neighboring Turkey and Lebanon as well.