Syrian forces advance in Aleppo despite truce, monitors say

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regained area from rebels in northern Aleppo province and were coming close to a strategic road Thursday just a day after the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire, a monitoring group reported. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime troops and allied paramilitaries retook control of the area of Ketlet al-Jamae in the Mallah Farms, which overlooks the rebel-held Castello Road.

The advance puts Castello Road, the only supply route to the rebel-controlled areas in Aleppo, under the regime forces' direct fire, the Observatory added.

Al-Assad's forces have been trying for months to recapture the strategic route.   

"The rebels are engaged in fierce battles in their attempt to take back Ketlet al-Jamae because it is an important area for them," Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman said. 

Activists inside Aleppo said that opposition rebels had launched a counter-attack to dislodge regime forces from the area.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army announced that a three-day "regime of calm" went into effect and would continue until midnight on Friday (2100 GMT Friday).

The Observatory said that the truce was meant for the entire war-torn country.

The ceasefire coincided with the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Islam's holy month of Ramadan.

"This is a fake ceasefire," said Mahmoud al-Shami, an activist based in Aleppo. "This is a new manoeuvre by the regime to score military advances," al-Shami told dpa via a message.

There was no official comment in Damascus.  

Last update: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 12:05
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