Lebanese Islamic militant group Hezbollah said on Friday a "promised" victory was imminent for Syrian government forces and their allies in the city of Aleppo."There are great events taking place now in our region ... (such as) what is happening in Aleppo, and the ramifications of the promised and coming victory for the whole battle in Syria and the region," Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast live by the group's Al Manar TV.The Syrian army, fighting along the Shi'ite terror organization, has pressed an offensive in Aleppo with ground fighting and air strikes in an operation to retake all of the city's besieged rebel-held east that would bring victory in the civil war closer for President Bashar Assad. Shortly after Nasrallah ended his speech, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that the capture of all of Aleppo by Syrian government forces would not bring peace to Syria because Assad remains hated by millions of his own people. Speaking at the Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain, he said if and when the city fell to Assad's forces "it will assuredly be a victory that turns to ashes.""Remember that two-thirds of Syria is currently outside Assad's control and he is still besieging 30 other areas comprising 571,000 poor, tormented inhabitants. Surely to goodness there can be no lasting peace in Syria if that peace is simply reimposed by a man who has engendered such hatred among millions of his own people," Johnson said. Hezbollah also said on Friday that there is no truth to reports it assured Russia there would be no military response to the alleged Israeli strikes on its forces in Syria earlier in the week, according to a Hezbollah statement read out on its Al-Manar TV station.The terror organization said the reports were an "invention.""These reports are a total lie and fabrication," the statement read.
Despite the strong denials, Hezbollah did not explicitly promise an attack, leaving doubt as to whether one will be forthcoming.Meanwhile, The Syrian army declared a ceasefire in several areas around Damascus and the northwestern province of Idlib beginning on Friday evening, but did not say how long the pause in fighting would last.There was no immediate comment from rebels on the truce.The areas affected included the government-besieged town of Madaya near Damascus and Kefraya and al-Foua in Idlib, which are surrounded by insurgents.Russia is heavily backing the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War, which relies also on the manpower of the Lebanese terror group, in addition to other foreign allies on the ground such as Iran's Al Quds Force.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has regularly visited and held telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past year in order to try and secure Israel's interests in the region. With Russia stationing S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria, Israel has been keen to ensure that the system is not used against Israeli planes.A crackdown by Assad on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 sparked a civil war and Islamic State militants have used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Half of Syria's 22 million people have been uprooted and more than 400,000 killed.Zack Pyzer contributed to this article.
The toll of the Syrian Civil War on civilians in Aleppo, Syria