Inside a rebel weapons factory in Syria

Aleppo battle stalled

ALEPPO --  On Monday, Russia said it will suspend bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo for eight hours Thursday as a humanitarian gesture.

Warplanes continue brutal assault on Aleppo

The city of two-million is a ruin, five years after rebels rose against the Syrian president.

On Monday, the European Union said Russia’s bombardment may constitute a war crime.

In Aleppo Monday, CBS News found what each side is willing to do to keep on killing.

As day begins in Aleppo so does the fighting.  

Syrian soldiers and opposition fighters shoot at each other across a frontline that runs through the city center, with civilians desperate to stay out of the crossfire. The Syrian army retook this once prosperous factory district in August.

Soldiers offered to show us where rebels had manufactured one of their signature weapons.

This is an ordinary cooking gas canister sawed in half. And this part is designed to be filled with explosives -- maybe shrapnel. It’s reassembled, with these makeshift fins, to make a kind of primitive rocket. 

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer examines a crude homemade missile at a rebel weapons factory in Syria.  CBS News

The rockets were launched and aimed -- sort of -- through an ordinary piece of steel pipe.

The Syrian army has homemade arms, too, like the by-now infamous -- and imprecise -- barrel bombs.

And as for its precision weapons, there are too few well-trained soldiers to use them.

So, the battle for Aleppo is largely stalled.

Here on the city’s southern edge it’s taken the army three months to advance 800 yards to those white buildings.

And everywhere on this improvised battlefield there is misery.

“Film me,” an old man tells us.  “I have no food, no bread.  I have nothing.”

Not even a safe place to wait out this grinding war.

  • Elizabeth Palmer
    Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."