Syria regime rolls back rebel gains in Aleppo: monitor

AFP , Saturday 12 Nov 2016

Syrian government forces have recaptured all of the areas taken by rebel fighters in a recent assault intended to break the regime siege on eastern Aleppo, a monitor said Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army had recaptured key areas including the western district of Dahiyet al-Assad and the village of Minyan outside the city.

The reversals undo all of the progress made during a recent push by opposition fighters, including former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham front, as they tried to end a government siege on eastern Aleppo city.

Government forces surrounded rebel-held east Aleppo in July, severing the last supply line into opposition neighbourhoods and imposing a blockade that has led to food and fuel shortages.

Rebels have tried several times to break the siege, succeeding briefly in August, but no aid has entered the east since July.

The monitor said over 450 fighters and civilians had been killed since the rebels began their latest bid to break the siege on October 28.

The dead include 215 Syrian and foreign opposition fighters, including some who carried out suicide bomb attacks, and 143 regime forces.

Nearly 100 civilians were also killed in the fighting, the majority of them in government-held west Aleppo, where 29 children were among those killed in waves of rebel rocket fire.

Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been ravaged by the war that began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

The city has been divided since mid-2012, and in September, the government announced an operation to recapture all of Aleppo.

The government assault, backed by Russian warplanes, has killed hundreds of people in east Aleppo and damaged and destroyed infrastructure including hospitals.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in Syria's five-year war.

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