Russia plans attack on Aleppo: Opposition

Asaad Al-Zoubi said 3000 Iranian troops will be sent to eastern Ghouta as part of a Russian plan to distract Syrian rebel forces

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Iranian troops will be heading to the Damascus suburb of Ghouta to fight against Syrian rebels, while Russian forces prepare for an attack on Aleppo, a Syrian opposition figure revealed on Wednesday.

Asaad Al-Zoubi, who heads the Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva, said 3000 Iranian troops will be sent to eastern Ghouta as part of a Russian plan to “distract” Syrian rebel forces.

During an interview with Al Arabiya’s sister news channel Al Hadath, Al-Zoubi said the plan was leaked to the opposition by a spy from within the Syrian regime.

He also said the plan consists of sending more troops from Iran, the Syrian government and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to northern Ghouta.

Russian forces will be heading to Aleppo, via Russia's Hmeimim airbase in Syria.

A local truce took effect in Aleppo last Thursday after a surge in fighting in the city killed more than 300 people and threatened to unravel a nationwide ceasefire between government forces and non-jihadist rebels in force since February.

The truce has led to a sharp reduction in the death toll. Rebel rocket fire on government neighborhoods killed three civilians on Sunday but otherwise it has largely held.

It has been extended twice after 11th-hour diplomatic intervention by the major powers but there was no immediate word of any new extension ahead of Wednesday's expiry time.

Moscow and Washington pledged on Monday to redouble efforts to shore up the nationwide truce and reach a political settlement to the conflict which has killed more than 270,000 people in Syria since 2011.