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    Fighters of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, ride on a pick-up truck in the 1070 Apartment Project area in southwestern Aleppo, Syria August 5, 2016

    Militants in Aleppo Form New Coalition Amid Threat of Damascus Offensive

    © REUTERS / Ammar Abdullah
    Middle East
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    Armed groups operating in Aleppo announced Tuesday the establishment of a new coalition amid threat of Syrian government airstrikes, although its exact composition is yet to be determined, media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Monday, militants rejected Damascus' written ultimatum and refused to leave Aleppo despite the threat of high-precision attacks by the government forces.

    The new coalition dubbed "Governing Council of Aleppo" includes the Jabhat Fatah al Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra) jihadist group, outlawed in Russia, Al Jazeera broadcaster reported.

    According to the broadcaster, the militants used a video, presently circulating on the Internet, to announce the formation of the coalition and to say that Russian and Syrian airstrikes encouraged them to make the move.

    Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry said that neither Russia's Aerospace Forces nor Syria's Air Force had conducted attacks on Aleppo over the past 28 days.

    Syria's civil war between government forces and opposition has been ongoing for over five years and has given rise to a number of terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, both of which are outlawed in a number of countries, including Russia. Aleppo became the focus of the fighting when joint US-Russian mediation efforts collapsed in September and both sides resumed fighting.


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    Al-Nusra Front, Aleppo, Syria
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