Syrian regime forces intensify ground offensive to retake Aleppo

Syrian regime forces intensify ground offensive to retake Aleppo
Video: Syria's army clashed with opposition forces in rebel-held parts of Aleppo on Tuesday, following days of heavy airstrikes that have killed dozens.
3 min read
27 September, 2016

Aleppo airstrikes Sept 27

Syrian regime troops on Tuesday clashed with opposition fighters on fronts across the city.

Regime forces launched an attack on rebel factions in the central 1070 Apartments district of southwestern Aleppo.

The Syrian army's capture of 1070 Apartments is expected to pave the way for its forces to enter Aleppo while maintaining a siege on rebel-held areas.

"Regime forces attempted to break in through the old neighbourhood, but they failed after clashing with rebel factions," Civil Defence spokesperson, Ibrahim Abou Laith told The New Arab.

Airstrikes struck several neighbourhoods simultaneously, including in al-Shaar, where a five-storey building was levelled with a family stuck inside, AFP reported.

One young girl, her body encased in rubble, was among the dead. Her father, in shock as rescue workers picked up her lifeless body, collapsed beside, saying: "She's just sleeping. She's just used to sleeping."

Meanwhile, the regime's army said it seized the Farafina district northwest of Aleppo's historic citadel, AFP reported.

The advance was the first since Syria's army announced an operation to retake the opposition-held east of Aleppo city on Thursday, days after a week-long ceasefire broke down.

A young girl's father, in shock as rescue workers picked up her lifeless body, collapsed beside, saying: 'She's just sleeping. She's just used to sleeping'

Since then, Syrian and Russian aircraft have pounded eastern neighbourhoods relentlessly, killing dozens, according to a monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 155 people have been killed by Russian and regime bombardment on Aleppo city since the government announced its offensive last week.

The dead include 11 civilians killed on Tuesday in raids on the al-Shaar and al-Mashhad neighbourhoods, according to the UK-based group.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the air campaign.

"The appalling attacks on Aleppo have shaken all of us, and the violence and the attacks we have seen... is morally totally unacceptable and is a blatant violation of international law," Stoltenberg told a news conference in Bratislava.

Analysts said that the unprecedented ferocity with which Aleppo had been hit in recent days pointed to the Syrian government's aim to totally recapture the city.

"This moment marks the best chance for the regime to recapture Aleppo in four years, but its success is by no means guaranteed," James Denselow, a researcher on Middle East politics and security issues, told The New Arab.

"New bunker-busting weaponry, more intense airstrikes and the siege of the eastern part of the city will make it very hard for the opposition to maintain its defences yet their allies could choose this moment to reinforce them with new arms - including surface to air weapons - that could be a game-changer."

US officials warned on Monday that Syrian rebels may receive even more advanced weaponry from Gulf states.

Aleppo has been roughly divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012, and the frontline has remained largely static despite continuous violence.

In recent months, government troops have surrounded the eastern portion of the city, laying siege to opposition territory.