Syria regime rolls back rebel gains in Aleppo Rus­sian flotilla off Syr­ian coast

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces have re­cap­tured all of the ar­eas taken by rebel fight­ers in a re­cent as­sault in­tended to break the regime siege on east­ern Aleppo, a mon­i­tor said yes­ter­day. The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said the army had re­cap­tured key ar­eas in­clud­ing the west­ern district of Dahiyet Al-As­sad and the vil­lage of Minyan out­side the city. Regime forces also advanced south of the city, seiz­ing two ar­eas from the rebels.

The re­ver­sals undo all of the progress made dur­ing a re­cent push by op­po­si­tion fight­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer Al-Qaeda af­fil­i­ate Fateh al-Sham front, as they tried to end a gov­ern­ment siege on the east of Aleppo city. Gov­ern­ment forces sur­rounded the city’s rebel-held east in July, sev­er­ing the last sup­ply line into op­po­si­tion neigh­bor­hoods and im­pos­ing a block­ade that has led to food and fuel short­ages. Rebels have tried sev­eral times to break the siege, suc­ceed­ing briefly in Au­gust, but no aid has en­tered east Aleppo since July.

The mon­i­tor said that more than 450 fight­ers and civil­ians had been killed since the rebels be­gan their lat­est bid to break the siege on Oct 28. The dead in­clude 215 Syr­ian and for­eign op­po­si­tion fight­ers, in­clud­ing some who car­ried out sui­cide bomb at­tacks, and 143 regime forces. Nearly 100 civil­ians have also been killed, the ma­jor­ity of them in gov­ern­ment-held west Aleppo where 30 chil­dren were among those killed in waves of rebel rocket fire.

Five civil­ians in­clud­ing one child were killed yes­ter­day in rebel shelling of gov­ern­ment-held sec­tors of the city, the Ob­ser­va­tory said. And a reporter work­ing for Iran’s state tele­vi­sion chan­nel IRIB was killed on Satur­day in a rebel mor­tar at­tack in Minyan, the broad­caster said. Iran sup­ports Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad’s regime. Once Syria’s economic pow­er­house, Aleppo has been rav­aged by the war that be­gan with anti-gov­ern­ment protests in March 2011. The city has been di­vided since mid-2012, and in Septem­ber, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced an op­er­a­tion to re­cap­ture all of Aleppo.

The gov­ern­ment as­sault, backed by Rus­sian war­planes, has killed hun­dreds of peo­ple in east Aleppo and dam­aged and de­stroyed in­fra­struc­ture in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals. A flotilla of Rus­sian war­ships in­clud­ing the air­craft car­rier Ad­mi­ral Kuznetsov is now in the east­ern Mediter­ranean off Syria’s coast, a naval com­man­der has con­firmed. Rus­sia’s In­ter­fax news agency had on Fri­day cited a Rus­sian mil­i­tary and diplo­matic source as say­ing that MiG and Sukhoi jets have been reg­u­larly fly­ing into Syr­ian airspace from the Kuznetsov to “de­ter­mine com­bat mis­sions”. More than 300,000 peo­ple have been killed in Syria’s five-year war. — AFP

MINYAN, Syria: Syr­ian pro-gov­ern­ment forces walk around in this vil­lage west of Aleppo af­ter they re­took the area from rebel fight­ers yes­ter­day. — AFP

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