Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered air strikes for the first time in a bid to crush rebels in the city of Aleppo.
Insurgents from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed to have come under direct assault from two Russian-made MiGs in the southern part of the country, where at least two million people live.
“They were attacking us,” The Daily Telegraph quoted one rebel fighter, as saying. While the security forces have routinely used helicopter gunships, they had never previoulsy dispatched fixed wing aircraft for ground attack missions.
According to the paper, the intervention by the MiGs apparently came in response to rebels seizing part of Aleppo’s old city, a United Nations World Heritage Site.
The report said that if the regime continues to mount these air strikes, this could reawaken the debate over Western intervention to reduce the bloodshed by imposing a “no-fly” zone.