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Syrian army advances in Aleppo amid alleged intensified airstrikes

The Syrian army captured a key area in the northern province of Aleppo, as opposition activists accused Syrian and Russian air forces of intensifying airstrikes on rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.

State news agency SANA said Syrian forces backed by Palestinian groups succeeded Saturday to recapture the Handarat Camp for Palestinian refugees in Aleppo from the hands of rebels.

The capture of Handarat, 13 km northeast of Aleppo, came after the Syrian army and Palestinian factions destroyed the last position of the rebels there, SANA said.

Bomb squads have started dismantling explosive devices and roadside bombs the rebels had planted.

Meanwhile, the rebels' Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, previously known as Nusra Front before breaking ties with al-Qaida, said that the Syrian army and the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds succeeded to take the camp under heavy airstrikes from the Russian air force.

Wresting back control over Handarat consolidates the government forces' control over the key road of Castello, which had been used by the rebels as a main supply route to the areas under their control in eastern Aleppo, before the army captured it a couple of months ago.

Following battles with the army last month, the rebels took control of the entire camp, overlooking several rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, which has become under tight government siege after the Syrian army captured Castello.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels unleashed a counter offensive to retake Handarat, adding that intense battles are raging in the vicinity of that camp.

Pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said that the Syrian army has repelled the rebels' counter offensive on Handarat.

The UK-based watchdog group said the Syrian and Russian warplanes have intensified airstrikes against rebels over the past few days, following the end of a week-long truce, which expired last Monday without extension.

The watchdog group said that 72 people have been killed in rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo city since Friday, as a result of the Syrian-Russian airstrikes.

The Syrian Defense Ministry announced Thursday the commencement of a new offensive against rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, urging the civilians to leave immediately and the rebels to lay down their weapons.

On Friday, Syrian warplanes dropped leaflets over eastern Aleppo, renewing calls on civilians to stay away from the rebel positions and advising the rebels to surrender.

The renewed military showdown in Aleppo came just days after a Russia-U.S. brokered truce expired last Monday with no extension, due to the rising tension between Russia and the United States.

The Syrian army said in a statement that the rebels violated the week-long truce over 300 times, adding that the U.S.-led coalition struck positions of the Syrian army during the truce in Deir al-Zour, killing 90 soldiers, which was deemed by Russia as the biggest violation to the truce.

The U.S.-led attack on Syrian army positions in Deir al-Zour was the first since the coalition started operations in Syria two years ago. Washington said the attack was "unintentional," a claim totally rejected by the Syrian government.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 24Sep16]

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Syria War
small logoThis document has been published on 26Sep16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.