Syria on Sunday vowed to crush the opposition rebels in Aleppo, where government forces were carrying out air and ground attacks on rebel-held areas in the northern city for a second straight day.

Asserting that his country was facing a “global plot,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said: “The Syrian people are determined not only to confront this plot but also to achieve victory ... They (the rebels) were defeated in Damascus and will be defeated in Aleppo.” The Syrian Minister was speaking at a press conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart Ali-Akbar Salehi.

Government troops on Sunday intensified their attacks on Aleppo to regain control of areas held by rebels seeking to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Helicopter gunships fired on the district of Salaheddine, south-east of Aleppo, which is Syria’s commercial hub, according to activists.

“Fierce clashes are taking places in the districts of Bab al-Hadid, al-Zahara and al-Arqub (in northern Aleppo),” said the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The rebels said they had blocked the army from entering several districts in Aleppo and destroyed many tanks. Their claims could not be independently verified.

The outcome of the battle in Aleppo could determine the course of the uprising against al-Assad’s regime.

The opposition and Western nations have warned of a possible massacre in Aleppo, a city of more than 2 million people.

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