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Syrian soldiers retake camp north of Aleppo



Syrian soldiers are reported to have seized back the control of a refugee camp north of the beleaguered northwestern city of Aleppo from militants.

Sources belonging to both the Syrian military and the militants confirmed the recapture of the Handarat camp on Saturday.

Syria’s al-Ikhbariya television channel and the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the capture.

In the operation to retake the refugee camp, the Syrian soldiers were joined by Palestinian fighters, the Associated Press reported.

The Observatory said that the capture of Handarat camp “comes as a result of intensive bombardment” by Russian and Syrian air forces.

It said 25 people had separately been killed in government airstrikes in the east of the city.

A Syrian military source told Reuters that the operation, which had been announced late on Thursday, was continuing according to plan.

Asked about the weapons being used, the military source said the army was using precise weapons “suitable for the nature of the targets being struck, according to the type of fortifications”, such as tunnels and bunkers, and “specifically command center.” The official also denied that any civilians had been targeted in the government airstrikes.

On Monday, the army announced an end to a week-long ceasefire in Aleppo, which had been brokered by Russia and the United States. It blamed militants for the impossibility to extend the truce.

Russia later criticized the United States for not doing enough to rein in the militants in Syria to protect the truce deal.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over the past few months, the Takfiri militants active in the Arab country have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas.

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