Incredible photographs show the horrifyingÂ moment a government tank blast killed three rebel fighters in the batteredÂ Syrian city of Aleppo.
The series of haunting images tell a tragicÂ tale, first showing a calm street scene, then the terrifying moment the tankÂ fire lands, followed by the chaotic aftermath of the hit.
The powerful photographs, which shine a harshÂ light on the brutality of daily lives for Syrians under President Bashar Assad’sÂ regime, were captured by Tracey Shelton, a correspondent for the GlobalPost
Shelton wroteÂ about her experience of getting the photographs, explaining how she spent timeÂ camping with members of the Noor Den al-Zenke battalion who man a block ofÂ streets which now form the final battle line between government troops andÂ opposition forces.
She describedÂ how on the morning of the attack, the men were relaxed and joked around as theyÂ cleared up the area after a tank attack from the previousÂ day.
During thatÂ attack, the tank had fired too short, she explained. But this time, the assaultÂ took the men by surprise and killed three men.
SheltonÂ describes in heart-rendering detail how they ran back from the clouds of smokeÂ and waited for others to escape through the debris.
‘As the cloud of smoke engulfed the street weÂ ran back and frantically waited for the others to escape through the cloud ofÂ smoke and debris. But no one came. In that split second, three men were reducedÂ to broken, bleeding masses,’ she writes.Â Â
The harrowing photos come asÂ the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates thatÂ more than 26,000 people have been killed in the country since the revolt beganÂ in March last year – more than two-thirds of them civilians.
It has been another deadly week for AleppoÂ residents with government forces launching a devastating air strike on Monday.Â Â
Local residents say the attack was launchedÂ by Syrian government forces onto a densely populated area of the city and thatÂ further assaults followed. It is believed that in one of the deadlyÂ attacks this week, seven children were killed.
Rebels scored a major victory late FridayÂ when they seized part of the Hanano barracks, one of the army’s largest posts inÂ the area, activists said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saidÂ rebels were able to reach the edge of the barracks, which house more 2,000 thanÂ soldiers including many reinforcements brought from other parts ofÂ Syria.
Aleppo activist Mohammed Saeed said rebelsÂ also were able to free scores of detainees from the sprawling barracks, which isÂ close to the city center.
Rebels also attacked a main army checkpointÂ linking Aleppo with Turkey, where many Syrians have taken refuge from theÂ fighting. The Observatory said six rebels were killed in the attack.
The Observatory and another activistÂ groupÂ known as the Local Coordination Committees also reported freshÂ clashes in theÂ Damascus neighborhood of Tadamon, claiming an armyÂ helicopter had been shotÂ down.
Syria’s civil war witnessed a majorÂ turningÂ point in August when Assad’s forces began widely using air power for the firstÂ time to crush the revolt. Several warplanes andÂ helicopters have been shot downÂ over the past weeks.
The fighting also reached Aleppo,Â which hadÂ been relatively quiet for most of the 18-month-old revolt.Â While the militaryÂ largely was able to quell a rebel offensive launchedÂ in Damascus in July, it isÂ still struggling to stamp out the push toÂ take control of the northern city ofÂ Aleppo.
Today a major water pipeline in Syria’sÂ largest city was damaged during intense fighting, leaving several Aleppo neighborhoods without drinking water. The Syrian government and opposition traded blame overÂ the damage to the water pipeline in the central neighborhood ofÂ Midan.
The LCC and Aleppo-based activists said aÂ Syrian army warplane hit the pipeline with a missile.
The Observatory said the pipeline wasÂ hit asÂ warplanes bombed the area while clashes raged on the ground, butÂ it said it wasÂ not immediately clear exactly what caused the damage.
‘Water was completely cut from several neighborhoods in the city,’ Saeed said via Skype. ‘Electricity was cutÂ and nowÂ water. This will only increase the suffering of people.’
Aleppo’s governor Mohammed Wahid Akkad saidÂ two water pumps were subjected to an act of sabotage byÂ ‘terrorists,’ the termÂ used by the regime for the rebels.
Akkad was quoted by state-run newsÂ agencyÂ SANA as saying that water was cut in the neighborhoods of Midan,Â SuleimaniyehÂ and Aziziyeh and work is under way to repair them.
Amateur videos posted online showedÂ one ofÂ Midan’s streets after it was turned into a small river by theÂ flow of waterÂ gushing from the pipeline.
The authenticity of the video andÂ activistÂ claims could not be independently confirmed. The regime hasÂ strictly limitedÂ independent reporting in the country.
The uprising against Assad began inÂ MarchÂ 2011, when protests calling for political change were met by aÂ violentÂ government crackdown by government troops. Many in theÂ opposition took up arms,Â and activists say more than 23,000 people haveÂ been killed. The government saysÂ more than 4,000 security officers areÂ among the dead.
The Observatory and the LCC alsoÂ reportedÂ clashes in the Damascus suburbs as well as the northernÂ province of Idlib, theÂ southern province of Daraa and central Hama andÂ Homs.
In Damascus, the Observatory reportedÂ intense fighting Saturday in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk,Â whichÂ had been subjected to government shelling the day before.
When Syria’s unrest began, theÂ country’sÂ half-million Palestinians tried to stay on the sidelines. ButÂ in recent months,Â young Palestinian refugees, enraged by mountingÂ violence and moved by ArabÂ Spring calls for greater freedoms, have beenÂ taking to the streets and evenÂ joining the rebels.
Source: The Daily Mail