Aleppo: Street Celebrations as Syrian Army Liberates East
Aleppo streets had erupted in celebrations with people waving flags as reports said the Syrian Army has taken control of the last militant-occupied areas in eastern part of the city.
The Syrian Army had officially liberated Aleppo after ousting militants from their last bastions in the eastern part of the city. According to the Army, 99 percent of the formerly occupied regions of the city had been recovered by Syrian Army forces, adding that the army is in the “last moments before declaring victory.”
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is based in the UK, said the battle to liberate the city had reached its end and that Syrian Army forces were making their final advances into the militant-occupied parts of the city. “The battle of Aleppo has reached its end. It is just a matter of a small period of time, no more, no less…,” said the group’s director, Rami Abdulrahman.
While an official statement on the situation is yet to emerge from Damascus, a source close to Syrian Army headquarters told RIA Novosti that the army is on the brink of liberating the city.
“The army has begun clearing out the last terrorist stronghold in the Salaheddin neighborhood. The terrorists are firing back and are trying to use mortars,” the source told the news agency. “However, the complete liberation of Aleppo could happen soon, which will be officially announced.”
Earlier on Monday, the Syrian Arab Army made significant advances leaving only three residential blocks in the hands of anti-government forces. The militants had little choice but to “surrender or die,” Lieutenant Gen. Zaid al-Saleh, director of Syria’s security committee, told reporters in the Sheik Saeed district.
The Battle of Aleppo lasted more than four years after fighting broke out on July 19, 2012. In 24 hours leading up to the victory, approximately 10,000 to 13,000 civilians fled the city, bringing the total number of refugees up to around 130,000, according to reports.
After local TV outlets reported the victory, residents flooded the streets in celebration. Syrian state television channel Sana showed President Bashar al-Assad congratulating Syrian troops following the proclamations of victory in Aleppo.
Throughout the battle of Aleppo, the army repeatedly urged civilians to leave the area, organizing humanitarian corridors to arrange the safe passage of those who wanted to escape furious street battles.
However, terrorist groups fighting in Aleppo forcibly prevented civilians from leaving the area whilst using them as human shields. “Civilians are being used as pawns and prevented from leaving,” UN spokesman Rupert Colville said recently. Meanwhile, on Monday morning some 4,000 Daesh militants launched an offensive on Palmyra, Syria armed with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, and tanks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted the offensive may have been “orchestrated,” while former UK ambassador to Syria said the US and its allies “didn’t lift a finger to try to stop [the Daesh offensive] happening,” despite having sophisticated and well-developed surveillance capabilities that likely could have detected the regrouping of Daesh militants and their vehicles en route to Palmyra.
Source: News Agencies