Amid news that FSA/rebels
- maintaining their hold of Salaheddine district, fending off regime force’s adavance
- securing a major route between Aleppo and Turkey
- taking over bases and other regime’s security/police sites in/around Aleppo
- playing effective urban combat against regime’s APCs and tanks - even capturing several tanks
Here is FSA commander’s statement that ‘within days’ Aleppo will be under FSA/rebels control.
ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) - Syrian rebels aim to push towards central Aleppo, capturing the country’s biggest city within days despite being outgunned by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, a local rebel commander said.
Colonel Abdel-Jabbar al-Oqaidi, who defected from the Syrian army six months ago, told Reuters government troops had tried for three days to capture the south-western Aleppo neighborhood of Salaheddine, and Assad’s soldiers were increasingly demoralized.
The fight for Syria’s second city has become the focus of the 16-month-old rebellion against Assad, with rebel fighters confronting government forces backed by artillery and helicopter gunships.
“We don’t have goals for the coming months. We have goals for the coming days. Within days, God willing, Aleppo will be liberated,” said Oqaidi, dressed in green camouflage uniform at an Aleppo school which has been turned into a rebel base.
Describing the growing conflict which has engulfed Aleppo in the last few days as “street war”, he said the rebel aim was to capture districts one by one and establish control over them, before taking more territory from the army.
“We secure our areas and then move to other neighborhoods, pushing towards the city centre,” he said, speaking in an interview late on Monday. “God willing, we will liberate Aleppo and its military and security sites.”
“The regime’s capabilities are also being weakened. They can shell us from afar with tanks and helicopters. But inside their morale is zero,” said Oqaidi, head of the Joint Military Council, one of several rebel groups in Aleppo.
An unidentified Syrian army officer told state television on Sunday that his forces had recaptured Salaheddine, which lies on the south-western entrance to Aleppo, and the rest of the city would be under government control within days.
But on Tuesday Syrian television said the army was still chasing what it called “armed terrorists” in Salaheddine.
“The regime has tried for three days to recapture Salaheddine but its attempts have failed and it has suffered heavy losses in human life, weapons and tanks. It has been forced to withdraw,” Oqaidi said.