Syria: Rebel alliance launches battle to retake all of Aleppo

Syrian regime forces were on the defensive around Aleppo yesterday after a rebel alliance said it had inflicted a major setback by breaking a three-week government siege of the battered city. Russian Federation intervened in Syria's war in September 2015 with a campaign of airstrikes that bolstered Assad's campaign to reclaim parts of the country lost to the rebellion and to jihadist groups, including ISIS.

A confederation of Syrian jihadi groups and rebels claimed to have broken the government's month-long siege of Aleppo Saturday.

The Fateh al-Sham Front posted photos apparently showing artillery, trucks, armored vehicles, and other weapons in wooden crates.

On Sunday, at least one girl was killed in opposition fire on Hamdaniyeh, said the Observatory.

Syrian and Russian warplanes have been pounding rebel-held positions in and around Aleppo, after fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad broke the siege of the city. The government and major ally Russian Federation had offered corridors for residents to leave opposition-held areas, an offer met with skepticism from the locals who viewed it as an attempt to depopulate the area.

The U.N. says there are about 18 besieged and hard-to-reach areas, nearly all encircled by government forces. Shortly before sunset Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees said that militants were able to reach besieged areas.

The "Army of Conquest", a coalition of rebels and jihadists, said it would "double the number of fighters for this next battle".

There, they rejoined other rebel forces who had been fighting within the government-controlled western half of the city.

Hours after the announcement of the siege being lifted, the rebel coalition, which calls itself Aleppo Conquest and includes groups like Jaish al-Islam, declared al-Hamdaniya - the largest residential district in southern Aleppo - a military zone.

An AFP journalist said hungry residents quickly bought up the supplies.

The fighting continues at the territory of an artillery school and near the Ramouse neighborhood of Aleppo.

"It's a big slap in the face of the regime and allied militia forces", said Assaad al-Achi, the director of Baytna Syria, an institution working with civil society groups.

The SDF's Manbij Military Council released a statement Monday saying it was prepared to give elements of ISIS who remained in the city the opportunity to leave "on the condition that they release all the civilians they are holding and all their prisoners". There were 15 military strikes on healthcare facilities in the city in just the month of July alone. But aid agencies say the route, which remains under heavy bombardment, is too risky for convoys to enter.

The Aleppo offensive was the stunning culmination of a power play aimed at entrenching the group's place within the Syrian opposition, increasing the dependence of rebel factions and underlining its dominance in northern Syria.

A military officer says that trucks with food also entered the city, divided between government and rebel control, earlier in the day.



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