Syrian rebels break regime siege of Aleppo

Syrian rebels break regime siege of Aleppo
Leading Syrian rebel groups have announced that the siege of Aleppo has been broken, after fighters captured new districts in the city.
2 min read
06 August, 2016
Syrian rebels say they have broken the regime's siege of eastern Aleppo [Anadolu]
Syrian opposition activists have announced that rebel fighters have broken the siege of Aleppo, following a successful offensive by rebel fighters.

Around 300,000 civilians were trapped in eastern parts of Aleppo, which had been encircled by regime troops and militias. 

Earlier this week, opposition fighters from Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, the Free Syrian Army and other Islamist and opposition factions united and launched an offensive to rescue the trapped civilians.

After heavy fighting and 500 fighters killed, on Saturday the rebels announced they had broken through the cordon.

"Rebels break Aleppo's siege," wrote the Istanbul-based National Coalition on Twitter.

The Islamist faction Ahrar al-Sham also confirmed on Twitter that a rebel advance had "opened the route to Aleppo".

A major Syrian opposition body announced on Saturday that rebel fighters had broken the devastating government siege of the battered city of Aleppo after six days of fierce battles.
Syrian rebels had taken districts south of Aleppo to break the siege, and achieved a major breakthrough when fighters captured a regime artillery school.

A thin slither of regime-controlled territory in the city then seperated them from other rebels. With the capture of al-Ramouseh district the siege was lifted.

Calls to prayer rang out in the city, to celebrate the victory, opposition supporters said.

Regime media still deny that the rebels have captured these areas.

The rebels now control a road - passing through a southwestern suburb of Aleppo - which is the last open route into the city.

This means that rebels have cut off regime forces and open up a new road for their own besieged forces in the city's east.
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The UN estimates that between 250,000 and 300,000 residents have been trapped in the besieged, eastern part of Aleppo since pro-government forces cut the last supply route in July.

The world body and numerous relief organisations have warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe as conditions deteriorate.

In response to the continuing strikes, residents in the besieged city, including children, burnt thousands of tyres in order to blind regime aircraft.

Russia, a staunch Assad ally, had declared it was offering humanitarian corridors for residents to leave the area.

Rights groups said such passages are not neutral and don't offer guarantees to civilians wishing to use them.

Agencies contributed to this report.