Members of the Free Syrian Army in Salaheddin in Aleppo on Monday
The latest despatch, posted Monday night, from The Guardian's Martin Chulov in Aleppo:
The attack came just after 2pm on Monday; two Soviet era Mig fighter jets swept in low from the west, then banked and made a run at the schoolhouse. The impact of the bombs was devastating on the two homes they struck. Fabricated concrete spilled across the street and a nine-year-old girl lay dismembered in the ruins.
The first stronghold established by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the war-torn city of Aleppo had been hit by regime jets, in an attack that failed to take out the rebel leadership but instead killed nine members of a family in a nearby house.
For the past week rebel fighters and leaders had been coming and going from the school, which they had commandeered in the city's north-east. They had brought prisoners there, built up a large arsenal of looted weapons on a lower floor and brazenly parked a tank and anti-aircraft gun outside.
The regime troops that were engaged in pitched battles with guerillas barely one kilometre away probably knew where the poorly-disguised base was. The Syrian jets overhead certainly did.
By nightfall only five bodies had been recovered. There was no hope for the other four, who rescuers were trying to dig out with their hands and basic tools.
The rebel unit's bid to win the hearts and minds of nearby residents has not gone well, not helped perhaps by the brazen way in which they made the nature of their stronghold so obvious. On Sunday the group's commander was finalising details of a flyer he had prepared, outlining what steps his men would take to end the sense of paralysis that cripples Aleppo. Less than 24 hours later a large unexploded bomb from one of the jets lay on the steps of the schoolhouse and all the men inside were packing to leave to set up a new base.
On nearby main roads mountains of household rubbish remains uncollected and order is yet to return to the city, more than a fortnight after the Free Syrian Army obtained a foothold.
The reach of the guerilla force has since extended to what they claim is more than 60% of the city. But the rebels seem to be driven by little more than enthusiasm. Planning to hold their gains in the face of an imminent regime counter-assault is haphazard at best. Strategy seems anchored more in hope than vision.
"What can we do when all these so-called officers run away to Turkey and drink beer in refugee camps," said Major Abu Firad, who defected to the rebels six weeks ago and has insisted on a new rank of corporal in the unit with which he fights in the suburb of Salahedine.
"Every decision on the ground is up to us," he said. "These officers who speak on the television from their comfortable camps over the border have no authority to speak for us. If they were real officers they would come back and fight."