The Syrian army has wrested control of a strategic district in the militant-held part of Aleppo, in a major victory on the battle ground which brought back much of the embattled city’s northeast under state control.
State television reported that the army troops had seized full control of the al-Sakhour district in eastern Aleppo early on Monday, the 14th day into its latest offensive to drive the terrorists out of the city.
Demining operations were now underway there, the report added.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the development.
“It is the biggest defeat for the opposition in Aleppo since 2012,” said its director Rami Abdulrahman. “The opposition has lost more than third of the area it controlled in Aleppo city during the big advance,” he added.
He said government forces had also recaptured the districts of Haydariya and Sheikh Khodr, while Kurdish forces took Sheikh Fares District from militants.
Abdulrahman further said some 10 Aleppo neighborhoods over the past few days have been retaken by Syrian soldiers, putting nearly 30 percent of the city’s formerly militant-held neighborhoods back under Damascus control.
A day earlier, the military had chased militants out of the neighborhoods of Jabal Badra, Baadeeen, Inzarat, al-Sakan al-Shaabi, Bastan al-Basha, Arz al-Hamra’, al-Halak, and Ain al-Tall in the city.
Over the weekend, Syrian forces also retook Masaken Hanano, the biggest district in eastern Aleppo.
The government holds and defends the city’s western side and is purging its east of militants.
Aleppo’s full recapture would deal a decisive blow to the foreign-backed militants, who have been in control of its eastern side since 2012.
Syria’s Al-Watan daily, which is close to the government, reported quick advances by the army.
The next phase of the operation, the report said, would be “to divide the remaining area into security districts that will be easily controlled and to capture them successively.”
The advance would then “push the gunmen to turn themselves (in)… or accept national reconciliation under the terms of the Syrian state.”
Amid army operations against terrorists, thousands of civilians have managed to flee the militant-held parts towards the government-controlled areas.
The army has set up several humanitarian corridors to facilitate the exit of civilians as well as those militants seeking to leave.