Syrian opposition forces have made progress in an ongoing operation to break a regime siege imposed on the northern city of Aleppo.
Opposition fighters have captured the Assad suburb on Aleppo’s western entrance and seized buildings in al-Hamdaniya district, becoming 3 kilometers away from Aleppo’s city center, according to local sources.
Opposition forces are now stationed a few hundred meters away from the military academy, a stronghold of regime forces and allied militiamen in western Aleppo.
“Our campaign aims to break the siege on Aleppo and our forces seek to enter regime-ruled neighborhoods in the city,” opposition commander Ammar Saqar told Anadolu Agency.
He said opposition forces have seized bastions of regime forces in western Aleppo on the first day of the operation, which began on Friday.
“The bad weather has hampered the aerial bombardments of our forces by the Syrian regime,” he said.
Without elaborating, Saqar said opposition forces have taken “precautionary measures” to reduce the impact of regime airstrikes.
Baraa al-Shami, a spokesman for al-Sham Front, said the first phase of the military operation has achieved its goals.
“We have broken into the first defense lines of the Syrian regime and allied militias,” he said.
“The second phase of the operation will start soon,” he said, declining to give details.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests — which erupted as part of the “Arab Spring” uprisings — with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to UN figures.