Syrian troops capture major Aleppo zone

Syrian government forces and their allies captured a major eastern Aleppo neighborhood and several smaller areas Monday. (AFP)

Syrian government forces and their allies captured a major eastern Aleppo neighborhood and several smaller areas Monday, putting much of the northern part of Aleppo’s besieged rebel-held areas under government control, state media reported.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the areas captured by Syrian government troops include 10 neighborhoods and over 3,000 buildings. The ministry said in a statement that more than 100 rebels have laid down their arms and exited the Syrian city’s eastern suburbs.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial center, has been contested since the summer of 2012 and a rebel defeat in the city would be a turning in the five-year conflict. If Syrian forces capture all of east Aleppo, President Bashar Assad’s government will be in control of the country’s four largest cities as well as the coastal region.

The government’s push, backed by thousands of Shiite militia fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, and under the occasional cover of the Russian air force, has laid waste to Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said government forces captured the Sakhour neighborhood early Monday morning.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Syrian government forces have captured some 10 neighborhoods over the past few days, putting nearly 30 percent of Aleppo’s formerly rebel-held neighborhoods under state control.

Government forces captured the Hanano district on Saturday, the first time they had pushed this far into eastern Aleppo since 2012.

Watch: Aleppo in ruins

Thousands uprooted in eastern Aleppo

Several thousand residents of rebel-held eastern Aleppo fled shifting frontlines, residents and a monitor said on Sunday, after a rapid advance by the Syrian army and allied forces that rebels fear could split their most important urban stronghold in two.

The army and its allies took control on Saturday of the large Hanano housing district, on the northeast frontline of the besieged eastern part of Aleppo. On Sunday they said they had captured the neighboring district, Jabal Badro.

The army later said it had taken a third district, Holok, and killed a large number of terrorists, the term it uses for its opponents. State media said troops and allied forces were also pushing ahead in nearby Bustan al Basha, Haydariya and Sakhour districts and making significant advances.

“The shelling and aerial bombing does not stop and we our neighbors decided to leave with the army approaching,” said Abdullah Ansari, who fled from Haydariya to areas further south within the besieged area with his family of six.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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