Syria to open Aleppo airport to civilian flights after 'record' military victories

Syria to open Aleppo airport to civilian flights after 'record' military victories
The Syrian regime have claimed to have taken full control of the Aleppo countryside.
3 min read
17 February, 2020
Civilian flights will resume at Aleppo airport [Getty]

Syrian authorities will open Aleppo airport to civilian flights for the first time in eight years, as regime forces captured huge swathes of northwestern Syria from the opposition this week.

Transport Minister Ali Hammoud as saying that "Aleppo International Airport has resumed operations", according to Syrian states news, following its closure in 2012.

Operations will restart on Wednesday with a flight from the capital Damascus to Aleppo, while another flight from Cairo to the northern Syrian city will take off a few days later.

The announcement comes after Syrian regime forces announced they had taken control of 30 villages and hamlets in Aleppo province in a single day.

Gen. Ali Mayhoub, spokesman for the Syrian Armed Forces, congratulated regime forces on capturing opposition territories to the west of Aleppo city in "record time".

The military said in a statement regime forces would continue with their campaign to "wipe out" opposition forces "wherever they are found".

"[They will pursue their] sacred and noble task to rid what remains of terrorist organisations wherever on Syria's geography they are found," the military added in the statement.

The regime also claims it has taken control of the M4 and M5 highways in Idlib province, one of them linking Aleppo and Damascus.

Opposition forces have launched a counter-attack on two villages in northwestern Aleppo province, in a bid to regain territory.

The regime assaults in Aleppo and Idlib provinces have led to a humanitarian crisis in northwestern Syria, with 800,000 uprooted from their homes and refugee camps on the Turkish border at breaking point.

Many refugees have been forced to sleep in the open despite the freezing conditions, which has led to the deaths of children.

Hospitals, schools, homes, and refugee convoys have been targeted in the assault, leading to hundreds of dead.

Syria's war broke out in 2011, when regime forces brutally suppressed peaceful protests killing hundreds.

This led to an armed uprising in Syria with mass defections from the army and making it appear that Bashar Al-Assad’s regime was about to fall.

Help from Iran - who flew in thousands of fighters - and Russia - who backed Damascus with air strikes - helped the regime regain most major cities in Syria but at the cost of 500,000 people, mostly civilians due to airstrikes and shelling.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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