Syrian troops make advances in key Aleppo district
Syrian troops have made advances in a strategic Aleppo district that could secure a nearby prison against foreign-backed militants, the Al-Watan daily has reported.
“The army has achieved new progress in Sheikh Najjar industrial city… during its military operation to cleanse the vicinity of the Aleppo central prison and lift the siege on it,” the newspaper said.
The foreign-backed militants have launched multiple attacks on the prison in the Sheikh Najjar district, in order to free approximately 3,500 militants held inside.
In early February militants launched a major assault on the facility, beginning with a suicide car bombing at its main entrance.
Another suicide bombing at the prison was carried out by the militants on Thursday. The attack killed at least eight soldiers.
Al-Watan on Monday quoted “military experts” as saying that army units were battling to take strategic areas in Sheikh Najjar that overlook the outskirts of the prison.
The newspaper said the army hoped to station artillery there to help fend off attacks on the prison “which have intensified in recent days.”
Aleppo has been largely divided between government control in the west of the city and foreign-backed militants control in the east since fighting broke out there in mid-2012.
But Syrian troops have made advances on the southeastern outskirts of the city in recent months, securing and reopening the international airport there.