Syrian troops on Thursday (July 26th) prepared to launch an all-out offensive in the northern city of Aleppo in what the pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan called "the mother of all battles", AFP reported.
Free Syrian Army spokesperson Col. Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi said 100 army tanks and a large number of other military vehicles had arrived in the city. "The army's reinforcements have arrived in Aleppo," Al-Okaidi said. "We expect a major offensive at any time, specifically on areas across the southern belt, from east to west."
"There's no way to compare our capacity to theirs," he said. "They have tanks; we have medium and light weapons. But we believe in our struggle; they are fighting for nothing," al-Okaidi said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 143 people were killed throughout Syria on Wednesday, including 75 civilians.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday urged forces fighting in Syria to avoid damage to historically important cultural sites, in particular in the country's second-largest city Aleppo.
A statement by the agency said UNESCO was "particularly alarmed over reports of heavy fighting in Aleppo", which is a world heritage site, and was concerned over other heritage sites including the Crac des Chevaliers crusader castle and the ruins of Palmyra.