Aleppo: Intensive airstrikes, rebels deny losing ground

Aleppo: Intensive airstrikes, rebels deny losing ground
Syrian rebel fighters in the artillery college in Aleppo after capturing it in the weekend

Assad regime intesified its airstrikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo and claimed to recapture important poinrs, while the Syrian rebels rejected the claims and said they are still holding their positions and planning to advance.

Syrian state news agency SANA said government planes carried out “intensive strikes” on what it called “terrorist movements” south of Aleppo and recaptured important locations

Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least nine people were killed in Assad regime’s airstrikes on eastern, rebel-controlled Aleppo.

The SOHR said on Monday that there were “continuous air strikes” on Aleppo and surrounding areas, with missiles “launched by the regime forces” killing at least two women, one of whom was pregnant.

A rebel fighter recalled the opposition fighters’ military offensive that broke the government-imposed siege on the city three days earlier.

“I was part of the the latest attack when we broke the siege,” he told Al Jazeera. “Warplanes, helicopters and every kind of weapon that exists were used by the regime to hit us.”

Although claiming rebels still control Telal al-Snobarat, Tello said: “The fighting is still very furious, but all of our men are doing their best to advance there and in other areas.”

The Assad regime also acted to quell fears that rebel advances would cut supply lines to government-held western Aleppo. SANA quoted provincial governor Mohammed Marwan al-Oulabi as saying that all essential goods and fuel were still available in the area.

“Dozens of fuel tanks entered Aleppo city on Monday,” he said.

Rebels are still holding positions

“Government forces backed by intense aerial bombardment recaptured some terrain and closed off the rebel corridor,” pro-regime media outlets including Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV reported.

However, Syrian rebel fighters have rejected the claims.

A rebel official denied there had been gains by Assad regime. “There’s no advance, nothing,” said Abu al-Hasanein, a senior commander in Fateh Halab, the coalition of moderate rebel groups inside the city.

“The situation is good. There’s a lot of bombing, but the brothers (fighters) are taking cover until they start a new phase” in the battle, he said.

Hassan al-Eshra, a fighter in the Jaysh al-Islam armed group, said they and other rebel groups were still in control of the flash point neighborhood of Ramouseh in Aleppo on Tuesday evening, despite Assad regime forces attempts to recapture it.

“We haven’t fallen back from any of the sites… we took from the regime three days ago,” Eshra said from the front line. “Yesterday the regime tried [to recapture Ramouseh] three times, but it is strategically incapable.”

Syrian rebel groups have said they are fighting to hang on to key areas in the embattled northern city of Aleppo as regime forces and their allies escalate their attacks.

Eshra also said that the rebels were still in control of the Telat al-Snobarat area on the southwestern edge of Aleppo.

“This area is still under our control,” he said, adding that rebels targeted an industrial area and gas field north of the city with several missiles.