Syria forces seize half of militant–held district in Aleppo
Syrian government forces have reportedly managed to wrest control over half of a key militant-held neighborhood in Aleppo following heavy clashes with foreign-backed militants.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Syrian forces regained control of residential Bustan al-Basha quarter near the city center on Thursday.
The UK-based monitoring group said fighting has been raging in the area, one of the frontlines in Aleppo which has been divided for years between government and militants for control.
The Syrian military confirmed advances in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood. The army, it said, managed to establish control over the Sport Institute, its housing compound and a school in the neighborhood.
Syrian forces have encircled Aleppo’s militant-held eastern sector in recent weeks and are seeking to completely recapture the city.
Russia sends warship
Meanwhile, Russia dispatched one more missile corvette to Mediterranean Sea following US suspension of contacts with Moscow over the Syrian crisis.
The Mirazh, armed with Malakhit cruise missiles, left its Black Sea Fleet base of Sevastopol on Thursday and is heading to join a group of Russian warships in the Mediterranean, Russian media cited a fleet spokesman as saying.
Two Black Sea Fleet missile corvettes – the Serpukhov and the Zelyony Dol equipped with Kalibr long-range cruise missiles – had been due to reach the Mediterranean on Wednesday.
The deployments come two days after Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Russia had sent its S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system in the Syrian city of Tartus.
The dispatch followed Washington’s halt to its participation in bilateral channels with Moscow, which were established to maintain a ceasefire in Syria.
Moscow and Washington support opposing sides in Syria which has been grappling with a militancy since March 2011.