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Syrian troops reverse rebel advance west of Aleppo

The network is run by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Assad’s forces.

PTI | Beirut |

Syrian government forces regained control on Saturday of areas
they lost over the past two weeks to a rebel offensive on the edge of the
northern city of Aleppo, ending a major attempt by insurgents to break the
siege on eastern parts of the city, an activist group and pro-government media
said.

The insurgents had seized a couple of strategic areas in
western Aleppo after launching an offensive on Oct 28 in an attempt to break
the siege imposed in July on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, which has also been
targeted by waves of Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

Russia said last month that it would halt the airstrikes on
the city and urged insurgents to leave. But the fighters, including members of
the al-Qaida-linked Fatah al-Sham Front, refused to leave after the government
opened corridors for them to cross to the nearby province of Idlib, an
insurgent stronghold.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that government forces and their allies have regained control of Al-Assad
and Minyan districts, west of Aleppo.

“The epic battle for Aleppo has failed,” said the
Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman, using the term that the insurgents had
assigned to the offensive.

Syrian state media reported that the two districts have been
retaken. State TV reported live from inside Minyan, which appeared to be under
the firm control of government troops.

“We fought them in every street, house, neighborhood
and schools, and they used mosques to launch attacks,” an army brigadier
general in Minyan who identified himself as Nabil told Al-Manar TV.

The network is run by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah,
which is fighting alongside Assad’s forces.

The Observatory said the fighting left 508 dead, including
civilians and fighters from both sides.

It said the dead insurgents included 90 foreign fighters
while on the government side, 83 troops, 28 Hezbollah gunmen and 41 other
fighters from Iran and Iraq were killed as well.

On Thursday, Jan Egeland, the special adviser to the UN
envoy for Syria, said the last food rations in besieged eastern Aleppo will run
out by next week.

Speaking in Geneva, Egeland said the last time the more than
250,000 people inside east Aleppo received any humanitarian aid was in the
beginning of July.

Residents and activists in besieged east Aleppo have spoken
of rising prices of food products due to the siege.