Pro-government forces strike Syrian rebels

August 7, 2016 18:25

BEIRUT - Syrian insurgents who broke the siege of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Saturday in a significant territorial gain came under intense air attack from pro-government forces on Sunday trying to repel the advance which also cut government-held Aleppo's main supply route.

Rebels have taken most of a large government military complex southwest of Aleppo city in a major offensive begun on Friday to break a month-long siege and are now attacking further into government held territory.

The surprise advance in Ramousah allowed fighters from insurgent areas in western Syria to break through a strip of government-controlled territory on Saturday and connect with fighters in the encircled sector of eastern Aleppo.

But fierce fighting and continuous Russian and Syrian air strikes in and around the Ramousah area mean no safe passage for besieged east Aleppo residents has been established, activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to take full control of Aleppo, pre-war Syria's most populous city, which has been divided between rebel and government-held areas.

Assad's government forces are supported in Syria by Russian air power, Iranian militias and fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah group

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