07/28/2016, 17.26
SYRIA
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Syrian army close to retaking Aleppo, cuts jihadists’ road to Turkey

Syrian soldiers today took the Bani Zaid neighborhood. Militants are on the run. Assad offers amnesty to those who lay down their weapons and hand themselves in to the army. The government promises fast reconstruction of hospitals and schools. Russia offers four humanitarian corridors for civilians and fighters who hand in their weapons.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) – The Syrian army has retaken the strategic road that leads to Aleppo’s Citadel, north of the city. This cuts off Islamist terrorists from Turkey, this according to a statement from the general command of the Syrian Army.

After this, it will be impossible for terrorist factions to continue to bring weapons, ammunition, and recruits from Turkey and other mercenary-held territories to deploy in East Aleppo.

The Military Command of the Syrian Armed Forces praised the role of civilians in supporting military operations and promised to protect them better from the criminal actions of jihadist groups.

The Syrian military also pledged to rebuild the infrastructure damaged by terrorists, quickly restoring water and power supplies to areas that lost them long ago.

The government also promised to reopen schools as soon as repairs are made so that everything is ready for the new school year in a month or so. Likewise, it said it would quickly rehabilitate damaged health facilities and hospitals.

In the statement, the authorities called on Syrians in possession of weapons in East Aleppo who were misled by terrorist factions to put them down and leave the city before it is too late.

Those who are prepared to repent are invited to hand themselves in to the Armed Forces to take advantage of President Bashar al-Assad’s amnesty.

A presidential decree announced today pledges preferential treatment and the advantages of amnesty for anyone who hands in his weapons voluntarily.

AsiaNews contacted some residents in northern Aleppo via social media. They say “that scores of fighters are running from Bani Zaid, a neighbourhood in the northern part of the city in a never seen disarray. at the same time, Syrian forces are going after fighters still hiding out in the area’s narrow streets. However, many of the latter have laid down their weapons and surrendered”.

As of 11 am today (local time), regular Syrian army troops are in total control of Sakan El Shababi, an area in Bani Zaid, after jihadist fighters fled.

Apparently, the latter did not have enough time to lay mines to prevent regular troops from advancing. The battle continued smoothly for the regular Syrian army, so that after less than hour, the entire Bani Zaid neighborhood was under their control.

People contacted by AsiaNews report that yesterday "Unit 16 jihadi commander Abdel Halik El Hayani" in Bani Zaid neighborhood resigned "for health reasons".

In the government-controlled part of Aleppo, emergency measures have been taken for civilians fleeing the liberated areas, providing them with essentials.

For its part, the Russian government has promised to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to Aleppo in coordination with the Syrian government, whilst the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the opening of "four humanitarian corridors in Aleppo, three for civilians and one for fighters willing to lay down their arms."

"Aleppo is coming out of the tunnel of violence towards normal life and under Syrian sovereignty," said Apo Yerganian, an Armenian resident of Aleppo.

Militias and the army have fought over Aleppo, Syria’s economic capital, since July 2012 with bombings and destruction that have crushed the population. (P.B.)

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