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Syrian Armed Forces Expand Their Presence in Southern Aleppo: 3 Villages Captured

20 April 2015 5:49

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad hold their weapons as they walk in Handarat

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Al-Ba’ath Battalion – captured three more villages and one hill in southern Aleppo on Sunday after taking control of the strategic town of Al-Rashidiyah from the militants of Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham.

Directly following the capture of Al-Rashadiyah, the SAA and their allies advanced towards the villages Jib ‘Awad, Hajarat Al-Kabeer, and Hajarat Al-Sagheer, where they were able to defeat the Islamist militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and take control of this area.

However, the SAA and their allies did not stop there, as the latter advanced towards Tal Al-Sheikh Mohammad near the Khanasser-Aleppo Highway, capturing the strategic hill after fierce clashes with the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra.

As a result of their rapid success in southern Aleppo, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to create a larger buffer-zone around their main supply route to the province; this highway was endangered for a number of weeks, as Jabhat Al-Nusra endeavored to isolate the SAA forces inside the provincial capital.

According to a military source, over 50 militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra were killed during this counter-offensive in southern Aleppo, including an unusual amount of Turkish and Malaysian fighters.

Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeenfired multiple gas canisters into the NDF-controlled Maysaloun Quarter of Aleppo City, killing 5 soldiers and 2 civilians before they stormed the latter’s fortifications on Sunday morning.

Fighting continued at the Maysaloun Quarter until nightfall, when the militants from Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen and Jabhat Al-Nusra withdrew their attack.

Clashes have resumed at the Old Aleppo Quarter, when the Syrian Arab Air Force pounded the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra at the Bab Al-Hadeed Neighborhood; this resulted in a fierce response from the latter, who fired a barrage of mortar shells into the Bab Al-Nisr Neighborhood.

At the Kuweires Airbase, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) resumed their offensive, attempting to infiltrate past the SAA soldiers at the eastern guard post; however, they were unsuccessful for the second straight day.

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