Syrian rebels have launched a major assault on government-held southwestern parts of Aleppo. An offensive is aimed at breaking a government siege of Aleppo with 300,000 people trapped and reopening supply lines after the army and its allies tightened their siege of opposition-held parts of the city last week.
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The area has been subjected to a brutal aerial bombing campaign from the forces of Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies, which has destroyed several of the last hospitals in the area.
According to Aljazeera, regime forces have several lines of defense protecting Aleppo’s western neighborhoods. This battle could last several days, or maybe even weeks. The rebel fighters will first try to capture the nearby al-Hikmeh school, which is used by regime forces as a military unit. They will also try to capture nearby security points, advancing towards Aleppo’s western neighborhoods.
The Syrian army confirmed the offensive on state media but said its troops had pushed back rebel fighters from an air force artillery base and denied the rebel alliance had captured the Hikma school.
According to Reuters, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which gathers information from a network of local informants, said rebels and pro-government forces were clashing along several fronts on the outskirts of the divided city - pro-government jets had bombed rebel-held Khan Touman in the southern countryside of Aleppo, and rebels had shelled government-held parts of central Aleppo overnight.