Syrian army recaptures refugee camp in Aleppo

Damsacus, Sep 24 (IANS) Syrian forces backed by Palestinian groups succeeded Saturday to recapture a camp of Palestinian refugees in Aleppo from the hands of rebels.

The capture of Handarat camp, 13 km northeast of Aleppo, came after the Syrian army and Palestinian factions destroyed the last positions of the rebels there, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the rebels’ Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, said that the Syrian army and the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds succeeded to take the camp under heavy airstrikes from the Russian air force.

Wresting back control over Handarat consolidates the government forces’ control over key road of Castello, which had been used by the rebels as a main supply route, before the army captured it a couple of months ago.

In August, the rebels took control of the entire camp, following battles with the army.

The camp has a strategic importance as it overlooks several rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, which has become under tight government siege after the Syrian army captured Castello.

The Syrian Defense Ministry announced Thursday the commencement of a new offensive against rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, urging the civilians to leave immediately and the rebels to lay down their weapons.

On Friday, Syrian warplanes dropped leaflets over eastern Aleppo, renewing calls on civilians to stay away from the rebel positions and advising the rebels to surrender.

The renewed military showdown in Aleppo came just days after a Russian-US brokered truce expired Monday with no extension.

The Syrian army said in a statement that the rebels violated the week-long truce over 300 times, adding that the US-led coalition struck positions of the Syrian army during the truce in Deir al-Zour, killing 90 soldiers, which was deemed by Russia as the biggest violation to the truce.



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