(UR) Aleppo — After having its siege of Aleppo broken a month ago by rebels, pro-Assad forces — backed by heavy Russian air power — have retaken the lost territory and effectively re-established the blockade, Al Jazeera reported Monday.
In early August, rebel forces broke through the Syrian government’s lines and captured a complex of three military colleges in the Ramona district of the Aleppo’s southwest. After a day of fierce fighting over the weekend, however, it appears Assad’s forces have wrested control of that complex away from the insurgents.
Writes Al Jazeera:
“Syrian state television, citing a military source, said on Monday that ‘armed forces, in cooperation with their allies, took full control of the military academy zone south of Aleppo and are clearing the remaining terrorists from the area.’”
RT backed up this assessment. Lizzie Phelan, reporting from the ground inside Aleppo, explains:
“If pro-government forces manage to retake those three colleges, they will cut the rebel’s supply line into the eastern neighborhoods they control and potentially completely surround them. Because right now pro-government forces control the routes coming into Aleppo from the north, and if they succeed here, they’ll also control the route coming in from the south.”
And as Phelan says a moment later in the video report, “By the end of the day, that’s exactly what happened.”
Meanwhile, just north of Aleppo, Turkey recently launched its second incursion into Syrian territory by crossing the border into the northern town of Al-Rai.
In late August, Turkish tanks rolled across the border into Jarabulus in purported support of a U.S.-led coalition to attack ISIS. Once within range, however, the Turkish forces fired upon the Kurdish YPG fighters and retook the city.
Once in control of the Jarabulus, in fact, Turkey ordered the U.S.-supported Kurds to retreat east of the Euphrates River — an order John Kerry was quick to make happen.
Now, after a second successful push into Syrian space — it was reported that Turkish forces met little resistance in formerly ISIS-controlled town of Al-Rai — Turkey’s Prime Minister is announcing that ISIS has been completely wiped out along the Turkey-Syria border.
In a televised speech on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stated:
“Thank God, today, from Azaz to Jarablus, our 91km of borderline with Syria has been entirely secured.
“All the terrorists organisations have been pushed back — they are gone.”
Turkey’s newfound boldness comes at a time when its ties to the U.S. are shaky and its relationship with Russia seems to be strengthening. This facet complicates the fighting considerably in Syria, with Russia and the U.S. backing opposite sides in the war.
It was hoped that U.S.-Russia tensions would ease if the two nations could agree on a joint military action in Syria, but those hopes seemed to have been dashed for the time being. Reports now coming out of the G20 summit in China suggest military cooperation between the countries has hit a snag.
Speaking to the G20, President Obama said, “It’s a very complicated piece of business. These are difficult negotiations. We have grave differences with the Russians in terms of both the parties we support but also the process that’s required to bring about peace in Syria.”
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