Assad regime forces and Syrian rebels fought battles in the center of Aleppo and north of the city on Friday, while Russia in sending more warplanes to support its ongoing offensive aiming at wiping the rebels and ending the crisis in Syria.
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on Thursday it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on Monday. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.
Since 19 September, more than 500 civilians have been killed and more than 1700 injured in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said.
The sides gave conflicting accounts of the outcome of Friday’s fighting.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a regime’s military source said regime forces had captured territory north of Aleppo and buildings in the city center.
Rebel sources, however, denied there had been any additional advances north of the city by Assad regime forces that seized the Handarat camp area north of Aleppo on Thursday. A rebel official said regme forces had advanced in the Suleiman al-Halabi district of central Aleppo, but was then forced to withdraw.
In the city center, the military said it had advanced in the Suleiman al-Halabi district. Rebel officials said troops had moved forward but had subsequently been forced to withdraw.
A Syrian military source said regime forces captured several buildings in the area and were “continuing to chase the remnants of the terrorists fleeing them”.
The Observatory reported heavy bombardment by Assad regime forces and “back and forth” fighting in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood.
The Syrian military source said their forces captured several buildings in the area and were “continuing to chase the remnants of the terrorists fleeing them”.
The rebel official said Assad regime forces had “advanced and then retreated”, losing “a number of dead”. Zakaria al-Malahifji, an official for the Fastaqim rebel group that is present in Aleppo, said the insurgents still controlled the water plant.
Russia sends more warplanes to Syria
Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its campaign of air strikes, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was ready to consider more ways to normalize the situation in Aleppo.
The Kremlin said on Friday there was no time frame for Russia’s military operation in Syria. The main result of Russian air strikes over the past year is “neither Islamic State nor al Qaeda nor the Nusra Front is now sitting in Damascus”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the bombing and many hundreds more wounded, with little access to treatment in hospitals that lack basic supplies.
Residents say the air strikes are unprecedented in their ferocity, as new kinds of heavier bombs called (bunk-busters) were used, which is able to wipe complete buildings on top of the people huddled inside.
The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.
Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.