Beirut, London- Syrian opposition factions started yesterday their preparations to take the last strongholds of regime forces in Aleppo, ahead of controlling the entire city.
Hundreds of opposition fighters from several factions assembled yesterday in the rural areas of West Aleppo and Idlib, facing reinforcements brought by regime forces to the city.
Iranian media sources said around 2,000 fighters came from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to assist regime forces.
Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: “”Both sides are amassing their fighters in preparation for the great battle of Aleppo,” adding that regime forces and their allies had sent many reinforcements and munitions to the city and its southern rural areas.
Following several failures suffered lately by Assad forces and his militias during the battles of Aleppo, a decision was issued to fire Major General Adib Mohamad as head of Aleppo Security Committee and replace him with Major General Zaid Saleh.
Meanwhile, Jaish al-Fatah released yesterday a voice record received through wire-taping devices of a phone-tap conversation made by a fighter from the so-called Hezbollah in which he described the situation of fighters on the fronts of South Aleppo.
Speaking with a Lebanese accent, the fighter said Hezbollah and regime forces fighters were collapsing, as they were left to fight alone, adding that other militias in addition to regime forces fighters had already escaped the fronts.
A leader in Ahrar al-Sham, Mohammed al-Shami told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that by entering its fourth stage, opposition forces would have completed the plan they had placed ten days ago to control the city of Aleppo.
“The collapse in the ranks of regime forces is clear and it continues as long as Jaish al-Fatah fighters advance in the city,” Shami said.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, Jaish al-Fatah announced “the start of a new phase to liberate all of Aleppo,” pledging to “double the number of fighters for this next battle.”
Meanwhile, residents of eastern Aleppo were still waiting for aid to reach the city. In the past few days, a small quantity of aid had crossed the unsecure Ramouseh road while residents still suffer from a shortage in primary products, particularly sugar, wheat and food cans.