The US said it fears Syrian government forces are preparing to carry out a massacre in Aleppo. Following information that columns of tanks, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft are being deployed, which suggest preparation for a massacre. US Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland speaking at a White House news conference said it was a "serious escalation" in the conflict.

Nuland then described Assad's desperate attempts to hold onto control of Aleppo

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report massed soldiers reinforcements arriving from the main Damascus-to-Aleppo road to the south. A Syrian security source told AFP news agency that Special Forces had begun arriving for a counter-offensive on Friday or Saturday". Meanwhile rebels have said they are stockpiling weapons in readiness for some of the bloodiest fighting yet. In preparation for the fight neighbourhoods are appealing for more blood supplies. With reports of hundreds, possibly thousands of families leaving some districts. Everybody is bracing themselves for an intensive campaign.

Written & Presented by Ann Salter