الثلاثاء , يونيو 9 2020

Syrian army recaptures key Aleppo road

Syrian government forces in the village of Jabboul on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo (24 October 2015)Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

The Aleppo region has seen battles between the Syrian army, rebel forces and Islamic State

The Syrian army has retaken control of a road that was the only route into the government-held side of the second city of Aleppo, state media report.

Soldiers had driven back Islamic State (IS) militants, who seized the road from Aleppo to the towns of Khanaser and Ithriya last month, state TV said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the report.

Aleppo has been divided in two since 2012, with the government controlling the western half and rebels the east.

IS meanwhile controls a large swathe of territory to the east and north-east of the city, once Syria’s commercial and industrial hub.

Aleppo and its surrounding province have seen heavy fighting since the army – backed by Russian air strikes, fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and Iranian militiamen – launched an offensive on rebel-held areas last month.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Islamic State militants made gains around the town of Safira late last month

IS subsequently launched its own assaults on government positions around the town of Safira, in the countryside south-east of Aleppo. There was also fighting the south, around Khanaser and Ithriya.

On 23 October, the jihadist group inflicted a blow on the government by capturing a checkpoint on the road between Ithriya and Khaneser.

That severed the army’s only supply route into the western half of Aleppo and reportedly causing sharp rises in the prices of basic goods.

The route had been secured two years ago by government forces after months of fighting with rebel forces.

On Wednesday, state television reported that army units had regained control of the road “after eliminating a number of Daesh [IS] terrorists” and that it would reopen on Thursday morning.


Syria’s civil war

Why is there a war in Syria?

Anti-government protests developed into a civil war that four years on has ground to a stalemate, with the Assad government, Islamic State, an array of Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters all holding territory.

What’s the human cost?

More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed and a million injured. Some 11 million others have been forced from their homes, of whom four million have fled abroad – including growing numbers who are making the dangerous journey to Europe.

How has the world reacted?

Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement are propping up the Alawite-led Assad government, while Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar back the more moderate Sunni-dominated opposition, along with the US, UK and France. Hezbollah and Iran have pro-Assad forces on the ground, while a Western-led coalition and Russia are carrying out air strikes.

The battle for Syria and Iraq in maps

Syria: The story of the conflict

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