Saturday, 29 October 2016
Rebels Strike Back
'Rebels launched a major offensive near Syria’s largest city Aleppo on Friday, making significant gains against pro-Assad forces.
Attacks began at dawn southwest of Aleppo, an area which has been fiercely contested since the spring and where Russia and the Assad regime re-imposed a siege of the city in late August.
The rebels quickly took most of the district of Dahiyat al-Assad, which they had never held even at the height of gains this spring and summer. By evening, they had secured almost all of the 1070 Housing Complex, most of which they occupied despite the pro-Assad advances this autumn. And they had moved for the first time into part of the neighboring 3000 Housing area.
The rebel objective may be to capture the Assad Academy, a facility for basic educational and training institution for infantry and armored corps conscripts and for advanced training for Army engineers.
The attacks included at least six vehicle-borne bombs, one of which was remote-controlled. Photographs showed large explosions in Hamdaniyah, where the 3000 Housing area is located.
Hundreds of rockets were also fired on regime facilities and bases, notably the Nayrab airbase southeast of Aleppo.
Rebels were assisted by cloud cover which prevented any resumption of Russian airstrikes. The Kremlin maintained that President Vladimir Putin had ruled out immediate strikes because he “believes it is possible to extend the humanitarian pause” which Russia declared on October 18, as it faced growing political pressure over the siege and bombing of civilian areas in eastern Aleppo city.
Rebel commanders are saying that they hope to move through the 3000 Housing Complex and military positions — possibly the Assad academy — to break the Russian-regime siege.'