BEIRUT Syrian government forces fought fierce clashes with rebels attacking a police academy near the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, while the bodies of 10 men — most of them shot in the head — were found dumped along the side of a road outside Damascus, activists said.
Russia, meanwhile, sharply criticized a decision by Western powers to boost their support for Syrian opposition forces trying to topple President Bashar Assad, saying the promised assistance would only intensify the nearly 2-year-old conflict.
Rebels backed by captured tanks have been trying to storm the police academy outside Aleppo since launching a new offensive on the facility last week. The school, which activists say has been turned into a military base used to shell rebel-held neighborhoods in the city and the surrounding countryside, has become a key front in the wider fight for Aleppo.
The Syrian state news agency said Friday that government troops defending the school had killed dozens of opposition fighters and destroyed five rebel vehicles.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group also reported heavy fighting Friday around the school, and said there were several rebel casualties without providing an exact figure.