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Satellite images show use of 'heavy weaponry' near Aleppo

Amnesty International has released satellite images that it says show the use of heavy weaponry close to civilian areas in and around the Syrian city of Aleppo.

DigitalGlobe, July 31, 2012, Anadan, Syria, 36 17 37N, 37 02 38E

In the image above, each yellow dot represents a probable artillery impact crater in Anadan close to Aleppo. There are more than 600 of them.

The image below is a close-up of a residential housing complex near Anadan. The craters are clearly visible.

Digital Globe, July 31st 2012. DigitalGlobe, July 31, 2012, Anadan, Syria, 36 18 20N, 37 02 02E

Press reports indicate that food and basic supplies, including cooking gas and fuel for vehicles, are in short supply in Aleppo. This final image shows a long queue of vehicles outside a petrol station near the centre of Aleppo.

DigitalGlobe, July 31, 2012, Aleppo, Syria, 36 11 23N, 37 06 16E

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Gulf countries close Syrian embassies

The six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have announced they will close their embassies in Syria in protest at the ongoing violence. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait will all withdraw their diplomats, according to GCC head Abdullatif al-Zayani.

Zayani said he opposed the Syrian Government "massacring its people, choosing the military option and rejecting all initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the crisis." He urged the international community to "act urgently and decisively to stop the killings and massacres in Syria".

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Government announce extra aid for Syria

The government have announced extra aid for victims of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners.

We have given direct support to 20,000 families for food rations, medical supplies and emergency water.

We are today announcing additional support for humanitarian aid."

– Andrew Mitchell, International Development Secretary

Russia: arms trade with Syria is 'perfectly legitimate'

Russia's Deputy Defence Minister has said that Russia will continue selling arms to Syria despite the crackdown on civilians, according to The Independent. Anatoly Antonov said:

Russia enjoys good and strong military technical co-operation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it ... Russian-Syrian military co-operation is perfectly legitimate.

He also admitted that Russia has military instructors on the ground in Syria training the Syrian army. "It's part of our contractual obligations," he said. "When we supply weapons, we have to provide training."

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