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Syrian Opposition: Iranian-Russian Plan to Break into Aleppo, Ghouta | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Assad Al-Zoubi

Riyadh- Syrian Opposition official Asaad al-Zoubi, head of the negotiating delegation, warned of the presence of an Iranian-Russian plan set out to break into Aleppo and the eastern Ghouta, located near Damascus.

Over the last few hours, more than 3,000 Iranian troops and 1,500 regime troops have assembled close to the eastern Ghouta, Zoubi told Asharq Al Awsat newspaper adding that Russian crowds were moving from al-Hamim Russian military air base in Syria towards Aleppo. Not to mention that five heavy-duty Russian artillery platoons already are positioned to enclose Aleppo.

“The Iranian-Russian attack on Aleppo had failed for the second time, after they had lost in February. The Iranians have lost two-fold this time especially that they have confessed to dozens of their troops dead,” he added.

“I can guarantee that over a hundred Iranian soldiers, among which are Major Generals, have been killed during the last attack, in addition to captives being taken. Noting that they are receiving Russian support, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials threatened and insisted on re-launching campaigns against Aleppo, the city that had cut off Iran’s headway in Syria multiple times,” said al-Zoubi.

He also pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin had outlined a plan to support the Iranian forces in restoring their dominance over Aleppo.

Furthermore, the Syrian Opposition official said rebel-held grounds are fully prepared to fill in all lacking defense posts and are capable of facing any approaching confrontation.

He referred to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent declarations- in which he warned Russians from taking things too far and getting involved in Syrian affairs- to speculate underlying intentions harbored by the Russian administration on attacking Aleppo.

Al-Zoubi believes that the Russian-Iranian campaign will be attacking at three different fronts spread across the Ghouta region, exploiting current disputes among opposition factions, which until this moment have been situated inside the Ghouta area.

It is estimated that 69,000 Iranian soldiers are present in Syria, Al-Zoubi added.

As for the highly-discussed ceasefire, Al-Zoubi said that it is “shameful” to speak of a ceasefire in light of non-stop missiles and cannon fire.

He added that the Russians talk about cessation of hostilities as if they are speaking of a series of gradual episodes. Only this Wednesday, a mosque, a hospital and a shopping market have been leveled, meanwhile Russians, bluntly, speak of prolonging ceasefire another 48 hours. Ceasefire is for mere media consumption, Al-Zoubi said.