Syrian government forces made fresh gains in Aleppo on Wednesday, seizing villages and towns in the second city of Aleppo, state media and observers reported. Tens of thousands of people have fled Aleppo since they took control of the eastern districts after months of siege and air strikes.
The progress came as President Bashar al-Assad's forces drove the insurgents off the M5 motorway between Aleppo and Damascus, which has reopened. The new progress to secure a key road through rebel-held territory sets the stage for a significant expansion of state control over northern and southern Syria, including Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city and the country's most populous.
Syrian rebels were driven out of eastern Aleppo in late 2016 after fighting with government forces who control the western part of the city. Aleppo has long been a military zone, with reporters on official visas sometimes traveling to Damascus, but it is considered a safe destination.
Aleppo is the last major urban center held by the opposition, and since its capture, many of the rebels "efforts to topple President Bashar al-Assad have all but died in the war. Assad's army has surrounded Aleppo and cut off access to Turkey, which has allowed rebels to supply supplies and rearm. Some Turkish-backed brigades have left Aleppo to join rebels in Syria's other major city, Damascus. Since fighting began between government forces and rebels in Aleppo, the city has been divided in about half.
There are a lot of small, disparate opposition groups, and there are also Ansar Allah groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah that maintain their military bases in the city. The Syrian regime considers the rebels terrorists, making it difficult to maintain and control the ceasefire. Certain areas in western Aleppo are under the control of rebel groups that Syrian authorities do not like to flaunt. The man in Damascus told me that most of the passengers who had left Aleppo were young soldiers of the "Syrian Army."
When I reached the centre of Aleppo, the city was bustling with life, and it was not long before I noticed that only a small part of Aleppo was destroyed. The overall picture of Syria is unrecognisable, as the balance of power in Aleppo has barely changed in three years.
In this context, it is clear that the conquest of eastern Aleppo is part of the Syrian war, which will be presented as a fait accompli when the new American president takes office. The Assad dynasty's conquest of Aleppo is a victory for the Russians, who seek Syria for their own military and economic interests in the region.
The Jews call themselves Halab and their world tour has stopped off in Aleppo, Damascus, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, London, New York, Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Moscow, San Francisco, Beijing and London.
The state of Hamadani, founded in 944 AD by Sayf Addawla During the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, when Aleppo flourished, Aleppo became Syria's northern capital. The war in Syria has ten different sides, and they all occupy different parts of the city, some of which are occupied by the Syrian Arab Army, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and other rebel groups. Turkish rebels have attacked the city of Deir Ezzor, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Further airstrikes by unidentified aircraft were carried out in the Deirs Ezza area near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
A jihadist-linked media channel in Ebaa said rebels had also captured the group's house overlooking Aleppo. Syrian state television confirmed the report and said an army unit had liberated a house in the village of al-Qaboun, south of the city of Deir Ezzor.
The move would allow President Bashar al-Assad's forces to drive rebels from the Aleppo area and secure the city. The victory illustrates how Assad, with crucial support from Russia and Iran, has managed to turn the tide in a long civil war, push back the opposition - reclaim territory and ensure its survival.
The victory illustrates how Assad, with crucial support from Russia and Iran, has managed to turn the tide in a long civil war, push back the opposition - reclaim territory and ensure its survival. In mid-December, the last major rebel stronghold in the city of Aleppo, al-Bab, fell to Assad's forces and the Islamic State group.
The citadel is now under the control of the Syrian army and is one of the few sites in Aleppo that has not been hit. Syrian security forces, who are thereby protecting Bashar al-Assad and his family from brutal reprisals by them. Assad's Syria, "greeted by signs showing his grim - and presumed - father and other prominent opposition figures.