Syrian opposition factions yesterday resisted attacks carried out by the Syrian regime’s forces and its allies to expand the area that they control in besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo. They were able to regain the lead on more than one front by seizing areas that they had lost last week, and this coincided with an increase in the loss of Russian lives and equipment in Syria.
The military spokesman for the Fastaqim Kama Umirt group Ammar Saqqar said that “the Syrian regime, the Russians and the Iranians yesterday prepared a massing of troops to storm the western part of eastern Aleppo, specifically the neighbourhoods of Al-Iza’ah and Jubb Al-Jalabi. However, the Syrian opposition resisted them and inflicted great loss of life and equipment on them”. In a statement that he made to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said that most of the attacking forces were Iranian and not Syrian. He added “We were also able to confirm that Russian soldiers were on the field. They were not fighting but were managing back line operations”.
The German Press Agency (DPA) quoted an “Army of Aleppo” military commander as saying that it had “regained control of the Eye Hospital in the Qadi Askar neighbourhood after violent clashes with the regime’s forces”. He also pointed out that more than 20 soldiers belonging to the regime’s forces were killed in a bombing that took place in the Maysir district, 15 others were killed in battles near the Eye Hospital and the areas of Karam Al-Turab and Al-Qatarji and a group of others from the Syrian regime were detained.
In contrast, the Russian news agency Sputnik said that “the Syrian regime’s forces and its allies continue to advance at the cost of armed opposition factions in Aleppo, northern Syria”. The agency also alluded to the Syrian regime’s control of more eastern neighbourhoods after fierce battles took place between the two sides and amidst Russian – Syrian air strikes.
A military source on the ground told the Russian agency that the regime’s forces “have seized control of the neighbourhoods Karam Al-Turab and Al-Qatarji and the Eye Hospital that were considered to be Jabhat Fath Al-Sham’s most important strongholds.”