Syrian Commander: Countdown Started for Liberation of Eastern Aleppo
“The operations to fully liberate Eastern Aleppo will most likely kick off in the next few hours with the support of the Russian air force,” Mohannad Haaj, commander of al-Mahavir Battalion in the Syrian army, said on Wednesday.
He stated that the terrorists have lost the chance that the Russian air force gave them by pausing its airstrikes against them in Aleppo, adding that it is now too late for the terrorists as a big battle is underway.
Haaj also referred to the Syrian army’s preparedness to attack the militants in al-Bab city in Northern Aleppo province, and said that such a battle is more important politically than militarily since Ankara is seeking to establish a region on the Syrian territories stretching from al-Mare’ to al-Bab.
“When the Syrian army and its allies start battle in Raqqa, Idlib and the Northern parts of Aleppo, the terrorists will have no escape route but the Turkish territories, but Ankara is trying to create a buffer zone in Northern Syria; therefore, Damascus is attempting to capture al-Bab and prevent others from using this region for political gains,” he added.
Sources in the Russian Defense Ministry disclosed on Tuesday that the country’s aircraft carrier group is ready to launch a strike targeting terrorists in the province of Aleppo in the next 24 hours.
The source told Russia’s Gazeta that the attack, which will likely engage Kalibr cruise missiles, will target militants outside Aleppo, and not the residential areas.
The group, which includes Russia’s ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier, ‘Pyotr Veliky’ nuclear power guided missile cruiser and two destroyers, has completed its transfer to the Mediterranean Sea and is getting ready to strike, the Defense Ministry source said.
“The group’s main goal is to carry out missile strikes on terrorists outside of Aleppo that are attempting to get into the city”, the source added.
He also said that Kalibr cruise missiles will be used in the strikes, but did not specify from which ships the missiles will be launched.
No Russian surface ship that is currently in the Med is capable of firing the Kalibr-NK missiles, but submarine-launched Kalibr-PL could be used in the strike. The surface-launched type of Kalibr missile could also be launched from the Caspian Sea.
Right now final details of the strike are being worked out, the source said, including zeroing in on the terrorists’ locations, finding out the details of their transport routes, base camps and storage and training facilities.
“The strikes will avoid the city of Aleppo to prevent civilian casualties, because terrorists continue to use city residents as human shields.”
Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a battlefield between government forces and numerous terrorist groups.