Pro-regime forces brace for assault to seize Aleppo



ALEPPO, SYRIA- Pro-regime fighters are preparing to launch a major assault to recapture Syria's second city Aleppo, a security source in the northern province told AFP.
"Through its operations, the army is trying to broaden its security zone around the city," and prevent the rebels from receiving supplies and reinforcements from the suburbs, the source said.



Once Syria's commercial hub, Aleppo city is now divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east.
The broader province is split as well, with the Islamic State jihadist group largely in the east, and rebel groups and Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, in the west.
But with backing from Russian air strikes and foreign fighters, Syria's armed forces are slowly advancing south and southeast of the city.
"This will be the biggest military operation in Syria since the beginning of the war," one commander with pro-government forces told AFP.
He said loyalist forces were fighting on seven fronts around the city of Aleppo in a bid to cut off rebel supplies and isolate the city's east.
According to Syria analyst Fabrice Balanche, rebel fighters entrenched in the city have set up "serious defence lines" against attacks from the western neighbourhoods.
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Friday, January 15th 2016
AFP
           


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