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Saturday, 17 October 2015

Assad forces in Aleppo offensive

Syrian government forces backed by Russian airpower and allied militias opened a new front against rebel fighters south of second city Aleppo on Friday.


The fresh offensive came as Turkey said it had downed an "air vehicle" of unknown origin that violated its air space close to the Syrian border.

And a monitoring group said that more than 250,000 people have now been killed since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday during his trip in Bulgaria that China will continue to help promote a political solution to the Syrian issue.

China has been actively promoting a political solution to the Syrian issue, and will continue to work in this direction, Wang said, adding that all anti-terrorist actions should be consistent with international law.

The Aleppo offensive is the fourth that President Bashar al-Assad's regime has launched since Moscow began an air campaign in its support on September 30.

Aleppo city has been divided between regime control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012.

The situation is largely reversed in the countryside surrounding the city, which was once the country's economic hub, and the front lines have been static for some time.

"A major military operation began on Friday in the southern parts of Aleppo province with the participation of our allies and our friends," a security source on the ground said.

He clarified that "allies" referred to Russian support, and "friends" to Iranian and Hezbollah fighters.

The joint command for the Aleppo operation issued a statement saying the army had begun operations on the western and southern outskirts of Aleppo "to liberate you from the armed terrorist groups."

It warned that any resident or village cooperating with rebels would be a military target, but that anyone raising a white flag would be safe.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the regime had taken control of two villages during the offensive so far, and that Russian warplanes were pounding two others.

 globaltimes.cn
17/10/15

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