RIA Novosti reported that the Syrian Army, supported by the National Defence Forces, is preparing a large-scale operation to sweep the militant-held eastern districts of Aleppo. According to Arab experts, up to 7,000 militants remain in Aleppo’s eastern districts. On Thursday, Syrian forces fired artillery against fortified enemy positions in the neighbourhoods of Tariq al-Bab, Salikhin, Shaar, and Es Sukkar, along the terrorists’ first line of defence. The shelling came as Syrian warplanes staged airstrikes on the militants’ logistical hubs in Khan al-Asal, Kafr Hamra, and Haraytan. In addition, the militants lost most of their armoured vehicles and heavy machine gun-armed off-road vehicles. RIA Novosti sources specifically pointed to the fact that the terrorists still give stubborn resistance as the Syrian Army continues to advance on their strongholds near Aleppo. On Friday morning, west of Aleppo, Syrian Air Force planes destroyed one of the key command centres of Jaish al-Fath militants. In addition, north of Aleppo, airstrikes obliterated several command posts of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously known as al-Nusra). Currently, élite Syrian units deploy in nine key points around the city, waiting for the order to start clearing terrorist-controlled areas. Witnesses said that the situation inside eastern Aleppo is unstable, with militants strengthening control over mosques to avoid possible civil unrest. Many people in Aleppo are dissatisfied that the terrorists didn’t allow them to take advantage of the ceasefire to leave the city through one of the humanitarian corridors. Instead, the terrorists continue to use civilians as human shields, so people respond by staging protest rallies. Right now, terrorist groups related to Jabhat al-Nusra hold thousands of civilians in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo, keeping them from fleeing via designated humanitarian corridors.
19 November 2016