Syrian city under siege from gov't forces

(CBS News) ALEPPO PROVINCE, Syria - The heavily outgunned rebels are struggling to hold on to every piece of territory in and around Aleppo. We have a first-hand report from one village in the area.

From their base in Tal Rifaat, rebels set off to fight the Syrian Army under the cover of darkness. Aleppo is an hour's drive.

The rebels are facing a much-larger enemy equipped with tanks, heavy weapons and helicopter gunships.

Video: Fight continues on in Syria's Aleppo

Asked if he was afraid, one fighter said no. He told us we are looking for death.

The rebels' push was cut short when suddenly we heard explosions and saw tracer fire nearby. The Syrian army had begun an assault on the city of Tal Rifaat.

The fight had come to the rebel's doorstep. We followed the rebels into an olive grove to take shelter. The rebel fighters prayed for protection.

The few civilians with gasoline for their vehicles raced to open farmland. Abu Ibrahim made it along with his wife and eight children. "We had to go," he said. "There were explosions. I had to get my children out."

As dawn broke, children scrambled across the fields. A fighter jet flew overhead. Then, an attack helicopter circled Tal Rifaat and opened fire with heavy machine guns.

Even as the fierce fighting continues in Aleppo, the Syrian army's reach extends far beyond the city into rebel-held territory.

The rebels told us they lack the firepower to defend Tal Rifaat.

After two hours, the assault stopped as abruptly as it had started. Relieved residents felt safe enough to go back home to Tal Rifaat, at least for now.

  • Charlie D'Agata

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