Syria govt forces split rebel-held Aleppo in two
REBELS have lost most of the northern neighbourhoods in besieged east Aleppo, a monitor said on Monday, as the army pushed an offensive to retake the whole of Syria’s second city.
The army captured the Sakhour, Haydariya and Sheikh Khodr neighbourhoods on Monday, while Kurdish forces took the Sheikh Fares district from rebels, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Kurdish forces in Aleppo are not officially allied with the Bashar al-Assad’s government in Damascus, but the opposition regards them as cooperating with the government in a bid to recapture the city.
“The rebels have lost control of all the neighbourhoods in the north of east Aleppo, and this is their worst defeat since they seized half the city in 2012,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Syrian state news agency SANA reported on the capture of Haydariya and Sakhour as it looped footage showing some of the thousands of civilians who have fled east Aleppo in recent days as loyalist troops have advanced.
The army renewed an operation to retake eastern Aleppo nearly two weeks ago, hoping to deal the opposition a potentially devastating blow.
“Yesterday was the worst day we’ve witnessed since the war started. More than 1 500 families have fled to the regime-controlled west of the city. The bombing is horrific,” Ibrahim Abu Leith, Aleppo-based spokesman for the Civil Defence, told Al Jazeera.
The city, which was Syria’s biggest before the start of a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, is divided between the government-held west and rebel-held east, where UN officials say at least 250 000 people remain under siege.
Rebels in Aleppo have lost at least 30 percent of the besieged east since Saturday, as frontlines continued to cave in after nearly five months of siege. — AP