Battle for Aleppo: Syrian rebels achieve new victories

Syrian rebel groups are planning to escalate the military operation against Assad regime forces in Aleppo. The rebels started a wide military operation to break siege of Aleppo after the Assad regime closed the last route to rebel-held areas trapping 300.000 civilians inside.

The first phase of Aleppo’s major offensive was completely successful, orient news reported. Many strategic points were captured by Syrian rebels. Al-Hikemah School, Muatah Hill and al-Sharafah village which is very close to Ramousa Artillery College are in the hand of the Syrian rebels.

Raed Al Halabi, a fighter in the local Halab al-Shahba Brigades, said on Tuesday a coalition of armed groups will launch shells and car bomb attacks against Aleppo’s government-held neighbourhoods with the hope of advancing and opening the government-besieged supply route into the city.

The coalition – Fateh Halab, or Aleppo Conquest – includes most armed rebel groups fighting in the city, including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and several factions aligned with the Free Syrian Army.

“The shelling on regime military sites has already started and we will begin the advance soon,” he said.

“We are now overlooking the Ramousa area but Russian jets are intensifying their bombing, which is holding us back from moving quickly,” a rebel commander said, adding that they planned to fire shells and detonate car bombs.

Taking Ramousa would be an important step to open the way and break regime’s siege.

Ahmad Jalal, a fighter in Jaysh al-Islam, confirmed the escalation of the efforts to drive back government forces, saying that rebels have attacked al-Ramosa neighbourhood, a stronghold of government forces and militias loyal to Assad.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, he claimed that rebel fighters, including those from the Ahrar al-Sham armed group, took control of several buildings throughout Ramosa.

Khalil Hajjar, a media activist at the Aleppo Media Centre, said rebel fighters were advancing in the western Aleppo countryside. “The battles are ongoing and the regime is losing ground,” he told Al Jazeera.

In Aleppo’s Hamdania neighbourhood, a government-held area, Fatah Halab also launched shells and bomb attacks. “Smoke and fire has filled the whole area,” Hajjar said.

More than 50 rebel fighters and “dozens” of regime forces have been killed since the offensive began on Sunday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

Some 300,000 residents of the opposition-held east of the city have been trapped since government forces blockaded the final road out last month.