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The battle for Syria’s second city of Aleppo took to an intensifying turn as helicopter gunships strafed several neighbourhoods of the city causing deaths and injuries, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on July 25. Amid the conflagration in Syria the United Nations pulled out half of its troubled observer mission in the country. UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said he had stressed to Syrian officials in morning talks that without a significant reduction in violence, the remaining 150 observers would leave on the expiry of the “final” 30-day extension of the mission’s mandate agreed by the Security Council on July 20.
In Aleppo, Syria’s commercial capital, clashes raged in the central Al-Jamaliya neighbourhood, close to the local headquarters of the ruling Baath party. In Kalasseh, in the south of the city, rebels set fire to a police station, the Observatory said. Fighter jets overflew the city, breaking the sound barrier but not carrying out bombing raids, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman reportedly said.