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Syrian army reportedly falls back as battles intensify in Aleppo

The Syrian army retreated from some military positions it was controlling in the southern countryside of Aleppo province, repositioning behind new defense lines, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported on Saturday evening.

The rebels, mainly Jaish al-Fateh, and the Jabhet Fateh al-Sham, previously known as al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, unleashed a sweeping offensive on Saturday evening against a number of adjacent military colleges, mainly the Artillery College base, in the southern countryside of Aleppo in northern Syria.

The evening attack is the seventh to take place in a bid by the rebels to break a three-week-old siege by the government forces on rebel-held areas in the eastern part of Aleppo city.

The military colleges are located in the southwestern countryside of Aleppo, near the town of al-Ramuseh.

Opposition activists said the rebels also captured parts of al-Ramuseh, whose control will enable them to break the government siege.

The control of that key town will turn the table against the government forces, as it will enable the rebels to reverse the siege from the eastern side on the government controlled parts in western Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor group said Jaish al-Fateh was able to advance through al-Ramuseh and meet with the rebels inside the eastern Aleppo city.

Still, the Observatory made it clear that the rebels couldn't open a safe route into eastern Aleppo, due to the heavy airstrikes by the Russian air force, and the intense shelling by the Syrian army on their positions.

It, however, said that the route opened by the rebels was a military one, not for the civilians use.

The UK-based group added that the rebels controlled parts of al-Ramuseh, while the army is still in control of another part of the town.

It claimed that the entire Artillery College base has fallen to the rebels as well as a number of military positions in southern Aleppo.

The Syrian national TV, meanwhile, said Saturday evening that the rebels have failed to break the siege imposed on eastern Aleppo.

It added that the Syrian forces are continuing to fight intense battles in southern Aleppo and confronting the attack of the terrorist groups.

It said the army is engaged in intense battles in the positions that have been infiltrated by the rebels in the military colleges area.

Meanwhile, Jabhet Fateh al-Sham released a video clip, purporting to show a group of rebels from the countryside of Aleppo reaching their comrades inside eastern Aleppo city.

The Jaish al-Fateh rebels declared that it had broken the army siege on eastern Aleppo.

The Syrian national TV said the pro-rebel media outlets were unleashing a psychologic warfare, by disseminating tens of pictures and fake videos to mislead the public opinion and cover for the huge losses the their militants have suffered.

A military source told Xinhua that intense battles are currently raging on all fronts in southern Aleppo, adding that the army has declared the area as an open military zone.

The southern countryside of Aleppo has been the scene of tit-for-tat battles since Friday, when the rebels attacked the Artillery College, but failed several times to storm it before Saturday evening, when they have finally made into that military installation.

The rebels also showed pictures of what they said weapon cash they have captured inside the base.

The rebels have feverishly trying to break the siege from the al-Ramuseh town toward Aleppo to break the weeks-long siege.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 06Aug16]

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