Syrian regime forces capture Aleppo refugee camp

Syrian regime forces capture Aleppo refugee camp
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have captured the Handarat camp, located near the Castello road north of Aleppo, activists say
2 min read
24 September, 2016
The Handarat camp has witnessed intense fighting over the last few years [Getty]
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that regime forces had captured the Handarat camp from rebel fighters.

Located north of Aleppo Handarat was previously a camp for Palestinian refugees.

Yassin Abu Raed, an opposition activist based in Aleppo province, told The Associated Press that by capturing Handarat camp, regime forces had tightened the siege on the eastern districts of Aleppo.

Held by opposition forces, the eastern districts of Aleppo have witnessed intense aerial bombardment from Syrian regime and Russian warplanes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, since a US-Russian ceasefire deal for Syria collapsed on Monday.

International humanitarian organisations have criticised the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, and its Russian backers, for what they view as an indiscriminate bombing campaign.

Syrian regime forces allied with Palestinian fighters had launched a series of attacks on the Handarat camp over the last five days before its capture.

The camp which is almost entirely empty and largely destroyed, has witnessed intense fighting and bombardment during Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year.

Handarat lies close to the Castello Road, the main road leading into rebel-held East Aleppo and has changed hands between government forces and insurgents numerous times. Its capture pushes opposition fighters further away from the Castello road.

An unnamed Syrian official quoted on Syrian state television said that the assault had seen many opposition fighters, referred to as “terrorists” killed, and that experts were in the process of removing explosives from the area.

The push into Handarat comes after diplomats failed on Friday to salvage a ceasefire deal for Syria during meetings in New York.