In renewed Aleppo attacks, Syrian troops capture high ground
Oct 25 2016
ANTAKYA, Turkey-Fighting returned to the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday following the end of a three- day humanitarian cease-fire that expired with no planned aid deliveries or medical evacuations.
Russia, the regime's strongest and most influential foreign partner, announced a unilateral "humanitarian pause" last week to temporarily halt the bombardment of Aleppo's rebel-held east.
Lebanese Al-Manar TV, run by the Syria-aligned armed group Hezbollah, broadcast footage of tanks and fighters advancing under heavy fire along a ridge reportedly in the Aleppo countryside.
A spokesman for the Nour el-Din al-Zinki rebel faction in Aleppo said an operation to break the government's siege of the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo was "coming". But the rebels rejected the offer to evacuate and no evacuations were seen along the corridors created by the Syrian government.
And a hard-line Islamist rebel coalition, Jaish al-Fatah, announced that it was starting a campaign with its militants and kamikazee fighters to break the government's siege of Aleppo.
Rebel fighters in Marea city shoot a weapon towards Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) controlled Tell Rifaat town, northern Aleppo province, Syria Oct 21, 2016.
"The attacks have started again, and they are so insane, so intense, " said Zakaria Malahifji, a member of the Fastakim rebel unit, which is battling in the northern city.
Warplanes - either operated by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government or by Russian Federation, an ally - targeted the opposition neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo on Saturday evening, residents and rebels said.
Peskov's statement comes as the break in the fighting Russian Federation has declared in the besieged city of Aleppo entered its third day before seemingly collapsing Saturday night.
He also said the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad is a facade to weaken the region's Shiite Muslim power structure, referring to the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance, the AP reported.
The U.N. greeted the lull meant to allow the evacuation of wounded civilians and fighters from the rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo that had been devastated by airstrikes. "They say, 'It's ours, not Syria's.' Look, this is being revealed every day".
The SANA news agency said on Monday that the government troops took the hilltop of Bazo on the southern edge of Aleppo, near military bases.
The pause, Russian Federation said, was to allow civilians and rebels to leave the blockaded eastern half of Aleppo through eight humanitarian corridors.
Aleppo has become a key battleground in the conflict, which began in 2011 and has killed more than 400,000 people.
The United States has supported both the Turkish-backed forces and the Syrian Kurdish forces in the area, though it has clarified that it does not support the Syrian Kurdish forces that have come under Turkish attack in the Aleppo countryside.
A previous cease-fire brokered by US and Russia collapsed on September 19 and since then the Syrian regime backed by Russian airstrikes has launched an offensive to retake the entire city of Aleppo.
In May, militants from the group - when it was still known as Jabhat Al Nusra and considered Al Qaeda's Syrian branch - led the capture of Khan Tuman.