Beirut, Ankara- The Syrian regime and its allies have gained a significant ground in their offensive on Monday in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, with reports saying they had controlled its northern part including al-Sakhour area.
However, the opposition denied that Assad’s forces had completely controlled al-Sakhour, saying the regime “would not make any additional advance in the area.”
Amid conflicting reports listing the reasons that allowed the regime to advance in Aleppo, the opposition said there is exaggeration when speaking about “a victory of Assad forces and their allied militias there.”
The opposition also said that the battles were now centered in the Douar district with a new frontline that stretches from the Scientific Research Faculty in al-Sakhour to Karm al-Jabal.
Reports about the size of the advance made by Syrian forces in eastern Aleppo remained unclear.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the northern portion of eastern Aleppo lost by the rebels amounted to more than a third of the territory they had held, calling it the biggest defeat for the opposition in Aleppo since 2012.
Zakaria Malahifji, a politburo member of the Fastaqim rebel group in Aleppo, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Reports about a big and strategic military advance made by the regime in the eastern parts of Aleppo that could lead to the fall of the city are exaggerated.”
Malahifji said that after the regime controlled the Hanano housing complex area, rebels decided to hand over the Halak and Haydariya neighborhoods to Kurdish fighters already present in the Sheikh Saeed to save civilians from the shelling of regime forces.
The Syrian Observatory reported that Kurdish fighters benefited from the ongoing battles between the regime and opposition factions to attack the neighborhoods of rebel-held Bustan al-Basha, Halak al-Tahtani and Sheikh Fares.
But, a Kurdish official denied that Kurdish forces had participated in the attack on the eastern neighborhoods. The official told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We have never been allied with the regime. We took from the opposition factions the areas close to the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood to protect the civilians there.”
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the fighting has forced thousands of residents of eastern Aleppo to flee. It said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent registered 4,000 people in the regime-held Jibreen district of western Aleppo after they fled the rebel-held east in recent days
In Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Russia and President Vladimir Putin have confirmed that there were no Russian aircraft involved in an airstrike on Turkish army positions near Syria’s Al Bab, which killed three Turkish soldiers last week.
“Recordings and testimony are being studied attentively. As soon as all data relating to the incident are examined, a relevant response will be given,” Kurtulmus said on Monday.