Syrian govt troops 'recapture rebel-held areas in Aleppo'

BEIRUT • 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 has said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that 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, 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 neighbourhoods and imposing a blockade that has led to food and fuel shortages.

The reversals undo all of the progress made during a recent push by opposition fighters, including former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham, as they tried to end a government siege on the east of Aleppo city.

Rebels have tried several times to break the siege, succeeding briefly in August, but no aid has entered eastern 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.

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 eastern 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.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria's five-year war.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Syrian govt troops 'recapture rebel-held areas in Aleppo''. Print Edition | Subscribe