Syrian rebels begin new offensive to break Aleppo siege

Syrian rebels begin new offensive to break Aleppo siege
Syrian rebel groups have launched a new offensive on Aleppo to reverse regime advances in the city and break a siege on opposition districts.
2 min read
28 October, 2016
Jaish al-Fatah launched Grad rocket strikes on Aleppo airport this morning [Jaish al-Fatah / Youtube]
Syrian rebel groups have announced the start of a new offensive on Aleppo, with fighters launching the first wave of attacks on two fronts.

Mosques in opposition areas of Aleppo rang out a calls to arms with the "takbir" - "God is great" - as rebel fighters massed on the front lines.

A number of rebel spokespersons have referred to the offensive under the name "Martyr Youssef Zoua", referring to late commander of Jaish al-Mujahideen.

Vehicles rigged with explosives were detonated at regime checkpoints in West Aleppo on Friday morning, before "shock troopers" began the first assaults on army positions, under cover from rocket and shell fire. 

Fighters from Fatah al-Sham rebel group were the first to attack, as detailed in The New Arab's exclusive report from rebel commanders.

Hundreds of Grad rockets have been fired into regime-held West Aleppo and the city's airport with reports that a Russian airbase at Latakia was also targeted.

Read also: Syrian rebels prepare for 'Mother of all Battles' for Aleppo

Commanders from a number of rebel groups in northern Syria announced they were taking part in the offensive.

"After prolonged waiting for the battle for Greater Aleppo to begin, we launched hundreds of missiles on aircraft stations in Aleppo International Airport and thousands of missiles are raining down on the [Shia] in West Aleppo," said Abu al-Yazeed Tuftenaz, a spokesperson for Fatah al-Sham, using a derogatory term to refer to pro-regime forces.

"[The] Mujahideen Army [and] Fatah Aleppo [have] targeted the military academy and artillery school with dozens of Grad rockets, achieving immediate damage as part of the epic battle for Greater Aleppo," the Mujahideen Army tweeted.

Two main assaults have been launched on regime-held al-Zahra, in West Aleppo and Minya, close to a small corridor of land held in al-Ramousa, which surrounds rebel-held East Aleppo.

The attacks are aimed at breaking the regime's siege on East Aleppo and to win back territories lost to from pro-Damascus forces.

Ramousa holds several military colleges and industrial complexes, while Fatah Halab rebel operations room announced the offensive on Zahra district.

More to follow...