Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Battle to Break Aleppo’s Siege Advances Slowly, Russia Supports Regime with 75 Raids | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fighting in Aleppo/ Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters

Beirut-The battle for breaking the “Aleppo siege” of rebel-held areas launched by the Syrian opposition factions four days ago, has entered a phase of hit and run.

Opposition factions have reportedly captured the most controlled regime sites in the city, mainly in the strategic Ramouseh district.

Activist and member of the “Free Aleppo Governorate Council” Monzer Salal described the development as an “excellent progress.”

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We can say there is still one kilometer before we break the siege of the city. The current battles are the fiercest and stretch along 20 kilometers.”

Activists also said opposition factions started for the first time since they launched the Aleppo siege battle, to launch attacks against regime positions south of Aleppo from inside the eastern neighborhoods of rebel-sieged areas.

More than 25 opposition factions currently participate in the battles, mainly al-Fatah Army and Fatah al-Sham Front (previously Al-Nusra Front). Activists say these factions already controlled around a total of a 40-kilometer square of territories since starting the battle four days ago.

Military sources from the Aleppo Conquest joint operations room said fighters would not stop the battles.

Concerning leaked information about the presence of a Russian-U.S. agreement to announce a near truce in the city of Aleppo, the sources asserted that al-Fatah Army factions do not wait for international decisions, adding: “The Aleppo battles would not stop before the liberation of the city.”

Meanwhile, regime forces supported by intensive Russian airstrikes, were trying Wednesday to recuperate the positions they had lost in the past hours following the attack launched by opposition factions four days ago to break the siege of the areas they held in Aleppo.

But according to Russia Today channel, regime units advanced in the surroundings of Huweiz village, southwest of Aleppo, while the so-called Hezbollah military media outlets said about 250 fighters have been killed since the start of the battle, adding that this was the first time 22 opposition factions participate in one battle.

The Office of Syria News said regime forces and their supporting foreign militias were capable to control the villages of Amiriyah and Huweiz and a number of buildings located in the southern neighborhood of Ramouseh in Aleppo’s countryside, where two days ago, progress was registered by opposition faction, Al-Fatah Army.

Regime forces made the advance after the Russian warplanes launched more than 75 raids on the outskirts of Ramouseh, where opposition rearguards are located.

Russia Today had also quoted a local official in the city of Aleppo as saying that 48 women and children had left Wednesday the besieged area of Sheikh Saeed in Aleppo using the humanitarian corridor, which was created by the Syrian authorities to secure the exit of civilians. The official added that 12 armed fighters also left the city using the corridors before handing themselves and their weapons to the regime.

On Wednesday, non-governmental organizations denounced the “so-called humanitarian corridors” created by Russia and the Syrian regime in the surroundings of besieged rebel-controlled areas, saying they were “unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, the position of the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah is still unclear concerning the number of its fighters killed or captured in the south of Aleppo. While the party’s media outlets have denied the presence of casualties and captured fighters in that battle, activists close to the so-called Hezbollah in Beirut’s Southern Suburbs were distributing copies of obituaries of some militants.