The Free Syrian Army and rebel groups have announced the start of a new major offensive in Aleppo to break the siege regime forces, backed by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization and other Iranian-backed militias, impose on the eastern parts of the city.
The FSA and rebel offensive, called “The Great Epic Battle of Aleppo,” is also aimed at liberating the regime-held western parts of Aleppo, with fighters launching the first wave of attacks on two fronts in the city’s west and southwest.
Activists said that the FSA and rebel fighters broke the Assad regime’s first lines of defense in Dahiyat Al-Assad area a few hours after the offensive began. They also took control of three major regime checkpoints and the Cardboard Factory in western Aleppo.
Vehicles rigged with explosives were detonated at regime checkpoints in western Aleppo on Friday morning, before FSA and rebel “storm troops” began the first assaults on regime army positions, under cover of rocket and shell fire.
Alnairab airbase east of Aleppo, the 3,000 Apartments Project area, and Al-Assad Military Academy southwest of Aleppo came under a barrage of Grad, Katyusha, and DIY rockets as well as mortar shells.
Jaish Al-Fateh, the joint command center of FSA and rebel groups participating in the offensive, announced they have captured 10 militants of the Iraqi Al-Nujabaa’ militia in Dahiyat Al-Assad area. Rebel and FSA groups also said they killed and injured dozens of pro-regime militants in Aleppo and its suburbs.
Jaish Al-Fateh urged civilians living in western Aleppo to stay away from regime positions for fear of their safety.
A two-pronged attack is already underway targeting the regime-held Alzahraa district in western Aleppo and Minya, an area close to a small corridor of land held in the Ramousa area and which surrounds rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Backed by aerial support from the Russian air force, the Assad regime forces and their allied Iranian-backed foreign militias have laid siege on eastern Aleppo for nearly three months, blocking the entry of food and medical supplies to more than 300,000 civilians trapped inside.
The Assad regime and its allies have repeatedly violated truces aimed at halting the aerial bombardment and the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in eastern Aleppo.
In early September, the Assad regime and its Russian allies announced the launch of a large-scale offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, unleashing a brutal onslaught on the city and its countryside. Internationally banned weapons, including cluster munitions, bunker-buster bombs, napalm, and incendiary bombs have been systematically used in the regime’s onslaught, killing hundreds of civilians.
Observes and analysts described the Assad regime and Russian onslaught on Aleppo as a repeat of the tactics Russia employed in the Chechen capital of Grozny between the years 1994 and 1995.
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 28.10.2016)