by WorldTribune Staff, August 2, 2016
Russia continues to tip the scales in its ally Bashar Assad’s favor as Vladimir Putin’s air force has led the way in repelling a rebel offensive in Aleppo, Syria.
Russian warplanes pounded the southern edges of Aleppo on Aug. 1, slowing a “last chance” rebel offensive against Assad’s forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
“The Russian raids didn’t stop all night on the front lines,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory, a British-based monitoring group. “This has slowed the offensive and allowed regime troops to retake five of the eight positions that rebels had taken,” since July 31.
According to a Syrian military source, about 5,000 pro-regime fighters, including Iranian forces and Hizbullah fighters, are taking part in the battle for the city.
Abdel Rahman said anti-Assad fighters from the Fateh al-Sham Front, formerly Al Qaida affiliate Nusra Front, and allied Islamists, were struggling to hold positions they had seized in Aleppo.
The rebel fighters had focused their assault on the Ramussa sector of the city, looking to simultaneously cut off government forces and give rebels a new access route to their besieged neighborhoods in east Aleppo.
The Observatory said 50 rebels and allied jihadists had been killed since the operation began on July 31, as well as dozens of regime troops. At least 30 civilians have been killed.
“This battle is the last chance for rebels. If they lose, it will be difficult for them to launch a new assault to break the siege,” Abdel Rahman said.