August 6th, 2012
04:14 PM ET

CNN inside Syria: Snipers, bombs - and sometimes open bakeries

In parts of Aleppo on Monday, snipers fired from roofs of buildings and artillery fire rang out, while other areas of the city are oddly normal.

CNN's Ben Wedeman and crew are some of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been restricting access on foreign journalists and refusing many of them entry.

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In the besieged Aleppo neighborhood of Salaheddin, Wedeman said drivers had to dodge piles of rubble in the streets. Residents evacuating to safer neighborhoods left their homes with all the belongings they could carry, he said.

An elderly man, carrying a briefcase and a bag full of jam, said he was leaving the neighborhood to move in with his daughter.

"What kind of leader does this to his own people?" the man said as he left his home.In Salaheddin, a man in a taxi's front seat has blood on his shirt. The Free Syrian Army members said he'd been hit by sniper fire.

More: What options are left?

Neighborhoods have been hit by bombs, too.

"Within the last 10 minutes, we have watched as an aircraft of the Syrian army has circled over the western part of the city - a very crowded and heavily populated part of the city - and dropped two bombs on what we are told is Saif al-Dawla neighborhood," Wedeman said Monday. "This has been going on much of the day. Every four or five minutes, you'll hear a explosion. Sometimes from the aircraft, sometimes from mortars, artillery and the rocket-propelled grenades."

Another rebel-controlled neighborhood, however, was in a much better state, Wedeman said. Civilians were out and about, shops and bakeries were open and electricity went in and out.

"It was quite incongruous because of the fair number of people in the street," he said. "We went to a bakery, a barbershop was open, and there was a cart where a man was selling tomatoes. But at the same time, in these areas where there are relatively few fighters of the Free Syrian Army and mostly civilians, you can see where the large bombs have been dropped. We saw one house where two people were killed in the day before yesterday, clearly hit by a large bomb dropped by an aircraft."

In Salaheddin, neighborhood fighters are nervous and expect the Syrian Army soon, Wedeman said.

For weeks, the fighting has raged in and around Syria's most populous city. It and the capital of Damascus are considered strategic spots to win for each side.

"Aleppo is Syria's largest city, with more than 2.5 million people living in it, and it's very much the commercial capital of the country, the middle of the agricultural heartland. It's also where much of the manufacturing in Syria takes place," said Wedeman. "And if you want to compare it to the United States, it's a little bit like the difference of New York, the financial capital of the United States, and Damascus or Washington, the political capital. So there is a very much a feeling that if somehow the Free Syrian Army was able to take control of Aleppo, then, really, the days are numbered for the Syrian regime."

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soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    O.K what was started 17 months ago (by??) to get rid of Assad seems to be nearing its objective perhaps with his PM's defection.
    A country destroyed and a people "liberated".
    Im sure when Assad goes truck loads of American volunteers who fell in love with the Syrian people and got them 'liberated' would be headed for Syria to rebuild , help and console. Headed perhaps by McCain.
    Didn't that happen when Saddam fell or Ghaddafi and would happen when we have 'liberated' Afghanis from Talibans?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, saywhat.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    Time to move on another country of our choice.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Gregory

    The Free Syrian Army will turn into the Khmer Rouge before this civil war is resolved. If the US wants the Geneva convention for its soldiers, then it should avoid touching the FSA even with a stick.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Hope

    Very funny...

    What if it were you?

    :S

    I can't believe the hatred. Bin Laden is dead. Today is today. This is not Iran, Iraq or Libya. This is the Free Syria Army!

    Heroes...

    Salute!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Billyone

      Good comment

      August 7, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • jackster

      This terrorist gang called FSA will ultimately handover Syria to Israel.This is certain.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hope

    FYI:

    BOMBING HIS OWN PEOPLE

    FROM FIXED WING AIRCRAFT

    IS A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME!

    (there are rules, you know)

    ASSad:

    You LOSE!

    Big Batta Boom.
    Hope

    August 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. famous quotes

    "The glory of war is all moonshine."-General Sherman

    August 7, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. famous quotes

    ...but you only remember him for saying "War is hell." b/c yer into glory.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dustin Katch

    "We should never forget that after every night, there is a dawn. We should never lose our optimistic faith." -(Amma)

    August 7, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. HIDE BEHIND

    Mao, you know that dead Chinese guy. he wrote a little "RedBook", and in this little.it realy is small book, he laid out the plans on how to get the people on your side; make life so miserable for leadrts they begin to repress their own people so much that they forget who the ones thst began the mess wete.
    All they want id peace and quiet, and that is what the men with the little Red Book promise; "As soon as they win."
    Makes no diff if today the little red book is Lazer etched on paper or in cyber space. that tactic eorks every time.
    Makes no diff even if a foreign power is the cause to the majority, peace at all cost and safety of loved ones paramount.
    How many know that in Iraq over 1500 collaborators were immediately airlifted out of Iraq under the financial payments that wrre reserved for witness protection program?
    One of Iraqs most able Generals was one that had his regional troops line their armor along roads. change into civilian clothes and go home, the americans were coming to save them.
    He got the job of govenor of that province by our forces..
    If you think these high level defectors are not now on some Euro or US payroll with promices of more "after".
    We have had Syrian expats in thinl tanks. on government payrolls as advisors and experts and many have been drawing University level 6 figure incomes, many will go back repredenting NGO'S or advisors for industry and government poditiond in new Syrian nation.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jim ainoris

    It worries me that "rebels" may be worse ultimately than existing evil leaders... russia and china (our trade friend?) is arming rebels... russia s navy critical port is on coast of syria... so they are trying to hold power. Will the moslem brotherhood (set up by nazi s) seize control again?... Degussa chemical corp of germany admitted selling tremendous amounts of chem. weapons to most of these countries... same company that made gas in death chambers in holocaust! how was this allowed? Lets hope syria comes under control of righteous group from Turkey or Jordon...Where people live decent lives...freinds of America and Israel. Shalom

    August 7, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • totemzebra

      dictators of Jordon and saudi etc. should all be over thrown. to hell with the so called kings. they are dictators.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kai-OVe Finvold

    A leader, a regime that kills its own people and bombs its own cities have no credibility (if it ever had).
    Contrary to what the propaganda parrots that still flood CNN's comment spaces, tjhere is no turning back when you have started murdering innocent civilians.
    10 years ago when he inherited (sic!) power from his unscrupulous father Bashar Al-Assad had the possibility to be part of the solution for Syria. That is a long time ago.
    Those who have eyes see that Bashar is the problem – not part of the solution.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. totemzebra

    The Free Syrian Army are a bunch of terrorists.
    The US claim they are waging war against terrorism and on the other hand secretly supplying weapons to the terrorists.
    Sooner or later the history of the US supported terrorists turned against the US will repeat.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bezboz

    FYI:I have posted twice trying to share two youtube videos showing the crimes committed by the Free Syrian Army but CNN keeps deleting them.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Bezboz

    Another terrorist bites the dust in Syria:
    turkishweekly(dot)net/news/139806/turkish-al-qaeda-lawyer-killed-in-syria.html

    August 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Rickstas

    CNN as usual trying to promote an armed conflict.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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