Aleppo: Russia to launch ‘large-scale’ airstrikes as rebels retreat

Aleppo: Russia to launch 'large-scale' airstrikes as rebels retreat
a suicide attack by Syrian rebels on western part of Aleppo

The regime forces had taken a strategic district of Aleppo on Tuesday after fierce clashes with rebels, which can be counted as the most important advance during the latest battle, as Russia threatened to launch “large-scale” cruise missile and airstrikes on the city.

On Friday 29 October the rebel forces started a new military operation to break the siege imposed on 275.000 civilians in eastern Aleppo, employing heavy shelling and suicide car bombs, was mainly focused on the city’s western edge by rebels based in the countryside outside Aleppo.

On Thursday 3 October, rebel groups detonated three large car bombs near pro-government forces on the western edge of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rebels said, as they tried to revitalize an offensive which has made little progress since taking most of Dahiyet al-Assad suburb on last Friday.

The offensive was effective in its first three days and the rebels were able to advance against Assad regime forces and allied militias.

However, the offensive was hindered after its fourth day. The rebels weren’t able to advance and faces counter attacks by regime forces.

The 1070 Apartments district is located on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo and lies alongside the government’s corridor into the parts of the city that it controls.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on the war, said government forces and their allies had seized full control of 1070 Apartments, calling it the most significant gain by the government in Aleppo since September.

A Syrian military source said the army and allied forces were in complete control of the area and surrounding hills. They have made repeated efforts to oust rebels from the 1070 Apartments area since the summer.

officials in two rebel groups fighting in Aleppo – Syria’s largest city and commercial hub before the war – said insurgent forces were still trying to fight back.

“The clashes around 1070 Apartments are still going on,” Zakaria Malahifji, head of the political office of the Fastaqim rebel group, said, while confirming that the army had taken the district.

Yasser Alyousef from the political office of the Nour al-Din al-Zinki rebel group said rebels had recovered positions they had lost on Monday.

Many analysts see this retreat as one of the biggest hits to breaking the siege operation and say that the rebels may cancel the operation and retreat comletely as they were faced with great defence .

Russian attacks Aleppo

Russia’s defense ministry announced then on Wednesday 2 November a new humanitarian pause and said that six exit routes will be open on Friday for ten hours, from 9am to 7pm, to allow civilians in eastern Aleppo to leave, along with two new exit routes for the fighters to withdraw from the area.

However, the duration ended without any civilians evacuated and with no rebels surrendering.

There were speculations about Russian next move, but they ended on Tuesday as Russia’s Defense Ministry said they will attack the rebels.

Jets from Russia’s flagship aircraft carrier will launch airstrikes from the eastern Mediterranean around the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo within hours, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

The strikes, predicted in the 24 hours from Tuesday morning, would be targeted at the outskirts of the city where rebel groups have been seeking to break the Assad regime’s siege of opposition-held eastern districts. They would involve cruise missiles, carrier-based and land-based warplanes, the reports said.

A military source said: “While in previous cases, when missile attacks were launched from the Caspian Sea, there were dozens of targets destroyed, this time, in literally two to three days, hundreds of terrorist targets will be destroyed from long range.”

Photos of the vessels have been released by the Norwegian military two weeks ago. A Norwegian newspaper quoted the head of the Norwegian military intelligence service saying the ships involved “will probably play a role in the deciding battle for Aleppo”.

On Saturday, Syria’s pro-government Sama TV said another Russian ship, the frigate Admiral Grigorovich, has arrived in the Mediterranean to “reinforce the other military ships already present at the Syrian coast.” Admiral Grigorovich is one of the most advanced classes of frigates in the Russian navy and can fire cruise missiles. There was no immediate word from the Russian Defense Ministry.


The Battle for Aleppo

The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.

Rebels opened a corridor to the east for the month of August after pro-government forces first applied a blockade in July, but they were not able to hold it as the government and its Russian ally pounded the gap with artillery and airstrikes. Pro-government forces reapplied the siege in early September.

Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on September 22 it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on 19 September.

There are about 275,000 people trapped by the siege of eastern Aleppo, where civilians are suffering through daily bombing, including by bunker-buster and incendiary weapons, and through starvation, as limited supplies run out and aid convoys are blocked from the city.

On Friday 29 October the rebel forces started a new military operation, employing heavy shelling and suicide car bombs, was mainly focused on the city’s western edge by rebels based in the countryside outside Aleppo.

In the first three days of the operations the rebels were able to advance and seize new areas and their shelling on the regime-held areas killed 46 civlians at least including children.

However, the rebels’ attack was repelled in many fronts be Assad regime’s forces and the battles have slowed down after the fourth day.

The area has been subjected to a ferocious campaign of aerial attacks by Russian and Syrian government warplanes, and hundreds of people have been killed in recent weeks, according to opposition activists and trapped residents.

Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.