Rebels begin fightback in major offensive to break two-month Aleppo siege

Fierce fighting broke out around Aleppo on Friday as rebels announced a large-scale offensive to break the government’s nearly two-month siege of parts of the Syrian city. Rebel groups, including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham faction and former al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, fired waves of rockets into government-held western Aleppo, killing at least 15 civilians. The assault “will end the regime occupation of western Aleppo and break the siege on the people trapped inside,” said Abu Yusef Muhajir, a military commander and spokesman for Ahrar al-Sham. Syrian government forces insisted they had repelled the attack.

The breaking of the siege is inevitable. We will protect the civilians and schools and hospitals from Russian attacks and bring our people food and medicine

Yasser al-Yusef, from the political office of the Nureddine al-Zinki rebel group

Monitors reported fierce clashes on multiple fronts on the western and southern outskirts of western Aleppo, with three suicide car bombs targeting a checkpoint in the Dahiyet al-Assad neighbourhood. The assault was said to have boosted the mood in rebel-held districts of the east of the city, with mosques broadcasting “God is greatest” from loudspeakers to hail the battle. Residents were also burning tyres, sending smoke up over the city in a bid to provide cover for rebel forces from government and Russian warplanes. Rebels launched the offensive as the Russian, Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers agreed to intensify their war on the rebels after a meeting in Moscow on Friday.

The army has foiled an attempt by terrorists to attack Aleppo city from several axes with suicide bomb attacks and has inflicted losses on them

Syrian state TV