Syria army edges forward in Aleppo

2014-01-28 16:59
(Fadi Al-Halabi, AFP)

(Fadi Al-Halabi, AFP)

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Beirut - The Syrian army is edging its way towards southeastern Aleppo as it battles rebel fighters for control of the northern city, a monitor and a pro-government daily said on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was a "limited advance" but the first by government troops in more than a year, and that residents fearing a major operation were fleeing the region.

The troops have gained some ground in Aleppo in the past few weeks, taking advantage of the fact that rebels who hold large swathes of territory have turned their guns against jihadist fighters.

"The Syrian army made a limited advance, for the first time in more than a year, and seized the Karm al-Qasr district on the southeastern fringes of Aleppo," held by the rebels, said the Observatory.

The offensive was launched from Nairab military airport east of Aleppo, Syria's second city and pre-war commercial hub.

Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to President Bashar Assad's government, said the troops made the advance on Monday and also seized the districts of Ballura and Kasr al-Tarrab.

It too said the operation had been launched from Nairab airport in the east, as well as Aziza village in the south, while adding it had reached the outskirts of Mayssar, a rebel bastion in southeast Aleppo.

The Observatory said residents of Mayssar, nearby Marjeh and Enzarrat were fleeing their homes for "neighbourhoods controlled by regime forces... because of the fighting".

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