12, December 2016
Syrian forces have reclaimed a major district in southeastern Aleppo as they push deeper into the last remaining militant-held parts of the northwestern city. “The army is now in full control of Sheikh Saeed,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the UK-based so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP early Monday. The army has been in control of Aleppo’s western half. Less than a month ago, it started a wholesale push to drive the militants out of their stronghold in the city’s eastern side, making great strides in the process.
The gain, Abdel Rahman said, has put the army in control of 90 percent of eastern Aleppo. On Friday, however, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the forces had wrested back 93 percent of the eastern sector. Russia has been lending airpower to the counter-terror push in Syria since last September. The militants have been carrying out indiscriminate attacks against western Aleppo amid the government’s drive to restore its control over the city, the monitor has reported.
According to the group, some 10,000 more civilians have fled Aleppo’s militant-held parts to areas controlled by the government during the past 24 hours. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, put the number at over 13,300 in a statement on Monday. Since the start of the Aleppo battle, some 130,000 people have managed to reach government-controlled parts, the Observatory added. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 728 militants have laid down their weapons over the past 24 hours and relocated to western Aleppo.
In recent days, Daesh, the most brutal of the terror groups operating in Syria since 2014, has resurfaced in the ancient city of Palmyra in the west-central province of Homs. The group was driven out of the city back in March after holding it for some 10 months. Recently, it mobilized more than 4,000 terrorists, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency, re-entering the city of Palmyra amid fierce clashes with the army. Homs Governor Talal Barazi has described the Daesh inroad as a “desperate” reaction to the government’s recent victories.
Reports on Sunday morning indicated that Daesh attempts to re-enter Palmyra had been reversed, but various sources said later in the day that they had managed to force their way back into the city. The militants then went door to door, looking for any remaining forces loyal to the Syrian government, opposition activists in the city said. The Observatory claims Daesh has managed to advance in the city’s western and southwestern areas.