Half of Aleppo East in the hands of Assad
The goal of loyalists is to win back the entire metropolis in the coming weeks. Tens of thousands of displaced persons amid a new exodus of civilians. Today the UN Security Council vote on a resolution for a temporary ceasefire.
Aleppo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian government troops have taken control of the eastern half of Aleppo, wresting over 50% of the territory from rebel militias and jihadist groups. Gen. Samir Sulaiman, head of the army loyal to President Bashar al Assad, hopes to bring the whole of Damascus metropolis under control within a few weeks.
According to some sources, so far unconfirmed, the government now controls more than two thirds of the territories, in the context of an offensive that threatens to turn the city into a "giant graveyard."
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced; in the eastern sector hospitals operate without the use of anesthesia and every day they are dozens of deaths and injuries among soldiers and fighters on both sides. Government fighters are bombarding neighborhoods still in the hands of the rebels, while the eastern sector rockets rain down on buildings, houses, schools west of Aleppo.
In response to the advance of the government, rebel militias are retreating regrouping south of the metropolis, in the most densely populated neighborhoods. There are fears that the fighting could generate a new exodus of civilians. Unofficial sources say that talks between Moscow - the main ally of Damascus - and some rebel leaders to organize the evacuation of wounded and sick from areas under siege.
Before the war, Aleppo was the second most important city of Syria, as well as its main economic and commercial hub. Since 2012 it has been divided into two sectors: the western, home to 1.2 million people, under the control of the government; the east, about 250 thousand people, in the hands of rebel and jihadist groups.
According to reports from London based NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, from mid-November more than 300 civilians have died in the context of the siege launched on the eastern sector.
Today, the UN Security Council will vote on a resolution calling for the temporary cease-fire in Aleppo and humanitarian access to areas under siege. The observers focus their attention on Russia, which could use its veto to block the initiative, as in the past.
Moscow has proposed a renewable truce for 24 hours; the agreement would exclude jihadist groups, including the former Nusra Front.