Aleppo Burns

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces escalated their attacks on the opposition this week. Fighter jets pounded northwestern Idlib province Tuesday, killing 60 people, at least 40 of whom were civilians, according to activists.

The bombings came in response to a push by Free Syrian Army rebels into Idlib province; opposition fighters were seeking to take control of Maarat al-Numan, a town strategically located on a highway linking the capital, Damascus, with Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub. Rebel forces succeeded in taking control of most of the town, but the fighting resulted in some of the most intense government air attacks to date and sent residents in the town and the surrounding villages fleeing.

While the war rages, "U.S. policy remains geared to providing only nonlethal support to the Syrian opposition, which rebels and activists deride as useless to those fighting the insurgency," as Justin Vela explains in an article for FP. "Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are moving in to fill the vacuum left by the United States by supplying the rebels with lethal aid, bolstering their influence among the rebels." As America dithers, here's a look at what's really going on in the country.

Above, a Syrian rebel fighter patrols during clashes against Syrian government forces in the Saif al-Dawla district of of Aleppo. Once Syria's commercial capital, the city has become a battleground marked by burned cars and trucks, piles of refuse, and constant danger from shelling and bombing as forces loyal to Assad battle rebels seeking his overthrow for control of the city.

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A member of the Syrian opposition uses binoculars to check for regime forces operations from the vantage point of a former army listening station in the village of Dar Tezzah in the northwestern province of Idlib. Rebels, who took over the station near Aleppo three months ago, use the strategic site to monitor the movement of regime forces.

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A string of rebel bastions across Syria were rocked by regime shelling and clashes this week as several army checkpoints also came under attack. At least 115 were killed nationwide, according to activists. Above, a Syrian rebel is pictured in Aleppo.

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Smoke billows after government forces fired rockets and tank shells at Aleppo.

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/GettyImages

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Here, a Syrian man carries the body of his five-year-old son, Mohammed Mustafa, outside a hospital following shelling by Syrian government forces in Aleppo.

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Syrian women cry outside a hospital following the air strike.

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An injured woman rides in the back of a van as it arrives outside the hospital.

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A Syrian rebel carries a homemade bomb.

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A unit of the Syrian armed forces carry out a military operation in the Karm al-Gabal neighborhood of Aleppo.

http://Syrian%20rebel%20fighters%20%20take%20position%20inside%20a%20house%20during%20clashes%20with%20government%20forces%20in%20the%20Saif%20%20al-Dawla%20district%20of%20Aleppo.

Syrian rebel fighters take position inside a house during clashes with government forces in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo.

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The body of a rebel fighter lies on the street in the Saif al-Dawla district.

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An almost-deserted, rubble-filled street is seen during the clashes in the Saif al-Dawla district.

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Mohammad Taieb Ismail, 70, stands inside a house from where he is fighting alongside rebel fighters in Aleppo.

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Syrian rebel fighters walk during a break in the fighting.

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A Syrian girl runs after government fighter jets bombed of Aleppo.

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A Syrian rebel commander prays inside a damaged mosque during the clashes.

http://Above,%20a%20portrait%20of%20Assad%20defaced%20to%20look%20like%20a%20devil%20is%20placed%20on%20%20rubble%20along%20a%20street%20in%20Aleppo.

Above, a portrait of Assad defaced to look like a devil is placed on rubble along a street in Aleppo.

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Here, a Syrian rebel carries a sand bag in the Saif al-Dawla district.

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