There are many opposition groups in Syria and they don’t always agree on the same issue. But one thing that they agree on is that the largest city in the country is vital to their efforts. The plan of the opposition groups is to ultimately overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar el-Assad. For that, they need the city of Aleppo. The city has been the scene of heavy fighting and now looks like a battleground. Buildings have been reduced to rubble and the infrastructure has been destroyed. The damage sustained is so significant that the city of Aleppo is barely recognizable.
Aleppo Is Key to the Syrian Conflict
Since 2012, the city has been divided. On one side, there are the Syrian forces of the government of President Bashar el-Assad. On the other side, there are the rebel groups. The eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo are an important bastion for the rebels. A full takeover of the city would have meant a significant victory for the rebels. It would have opened the way for a march to Damascus. Two hundred miles to the southwest of Aleppo, lies Damascus. It is the capital city and would have been the next objective of the rebel groups.
But the plans of the rebels seem unlikely to come true at the moment. As the fighting continues, pro-government troops are expanding their hold on vital parts of eastern Aleppo. They are taking over chunks of the city from the rebels. In order to escape the violence, thousands of civilians fled out of the way of the fighting. They moved to areas that are under the control of the government.
Syrian Forces Gain Ground in the City
Syrian forces have been carrying out a government offensive for the past 13 days. They are pushing to give a definitive blow to the rebel groups. They successfully recaptured a key neighborhood on the outskirts of the eastern flank of the city. The name of the neighborhood is the Hanano Housing District. It has a symbolic value for the Syrian forces. Hanano was the first neighborhood that fell to the rebels in 2012.
Having taken over Hanano from the rebels this Sunday, Syrian forces are consolidating their control over the city of Aleppo. Activists on social media that are in favor of the government of Bashar el-Assad have posted messages about the progress of Syrian forces. They say that the troops have breached three more neighborhoods that are adjacent to Hanano Housing District.
The State News Agency, SANA reported on Sunday that Syrian forces had a firm control over the neighborhoods of Hellok and Sakhour. The two districts are on the front line that separates the rebel areas from western Aleppo. The west of Aleppo is under the control of the forces of the government of Bashar el-Assad. The forces used a rocket barrage to severely hit the opposition areas that are near the center of the city.
Rami Abdul Rahman is the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The organization is a pro-opposition monitor in Britain. It also has a network of activists in Syria. Rami Abdul Rahman acknowledged the progress of the Syrian forces.
Image source: here.