01:28 GMT03 April 2020
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    The Syrian Army continues to advance on rebel-held districts of Aleppo. At the current pace, the besieged city is likely to be liberated by the end of the year, without new agreements on Syria between Russia and the United States.

    'Dawn of Victory'

    Over the recent days, Syrian militants have lost control over 30 percent of the territory in eastern Aleppo, Syrian news agency SANA reported Monday.

    According to the report, the army liberated four districts in northeastern Aleppo from terrorists and "restored security and stability" there. In particular, the Syrian military took control over the district of al-Sakhour, thus dividing the militant-held neighborhoods in two separate parts.

    The Russian Defense Ministry reported Monday that the Syrian Army had liberated 40 percent of eastern Aleppo from terrorists.

    "Syrian government troops continue liberating the northern part of eastern Aleppo from militants. Forty percent of the eastern part of the city has been freed from terrorists," the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation said.

    The army also gained control over 12 districts in eastern Aleppo, according to the center.

    On Tuesday, a militia source told RIA Novosti that the Syrian Army regained control over the entire northeastern part of Aleppo.

    "The army and the militia managed to regain control over the districts of Sheikh Khodr and Sheikh Fares. Thus, we can say that the northeastern part of Aleppo is completely under the control of the Syrian army," the source said.

    The Syrian Army encircled areas held by radical groups in Aleppo in late July, launching a major operation aimed at freeing the city in September.

    The recent advances by the army are part of a large-scale operation to finally destroy the terrorist stronghold in eastern Aleppo. After several months of siege and several unsuccessful ceasefire attempts, on November 15, Damascus announced an offensive dubbed Operation Dawn of Victory.

    The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that during the operation the Russian aviation has been providing support for Syrian troops. However, the Russian Defense Ministry has reported that airstrikes were carried out only in militant-held areas in the provinces of Idlib and Homs.

    Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a major battleground in Syria, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups.

    Eastern Aleppo is held by militants, encircled by government forces, and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city.
    According to UN estimates, between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians are held by terrorists in the eastern part of Aleppo.

    Damascus is interested in resolving the humanitarian crisis in the besieged city. On Sunday, Syrian government forces evacuated 2,500 civilians from Aleppo.

    "On November 27, the Syrian Arab Army troops liberated eight blocks of Eastern Aleppo from terrorists. More than 2,500 civilians, including 800 children have been evacuated. That number includes 500 people from the al-Qadisiyah district and about 1,500 people from the districts of Jabal Bidart and Hai es Sackur," the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation reported.

    Will Aleppo Be Liberated in the 'Near Future'?

    The liberation of Aleppo will take 60 days and be completed by US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, a source in the US presidential administration told The Washington Post.

    According to the newspaper, US State Secretary John Kerry is engaging maximum efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Aleppo.

    However, Russia sees the situation in a more optimistic way. On Monday, an informed source in Moscow said that the complete liberation of Aleppo could take place by the end of the year.

    According to RBK, the source also said that Russia and the current US administration are unlikely to strike an agreement on Syria and the political process will start after Trump assumes power.

    The eastern part of Aleppo will be liberated by the Syrian Army in the near future, said Andrei Krasov, deputy head of the Defense Committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament.

    "We’ve seen an increasing number of areas in Aleppo under control of the Syrian armed forces. The terrorists in Aleppo will soon be destroyed if they don’t lay down arms and surrender," Krasov was quoted as saying by RBK.

    The liberation of Aleppo by the end of the year is quite possible because the operation was well-prepared by the Syrian Army, said Vladimir Sotnikov, head of the "Russia-West-East" think-tank.

    He also suggested that militants deliberately avoid contacts with the Syrian Army and leave their positions, in order to further regroup and launch a counterattack.

    However, Shamil Sultanov, President of the Center for Strategic Studies "Russia and the Islamic World," Aleppo is not going to be liberated within the next three months.

    "Until the inauguration of US President-Elect Donald Trump, Russia is going to limit the activity of its Aerospace Forces in Syria, thus Aleppo is not going to be liberated within the three upcoming months," Sultanov said at a roundtable discussion on the Syrian crisis in Moscow.

    According to the expert, all the parties to the conflict will be waiting until Trump’s inauguration and will resume the military operations after they understand the policies of the new US administration.


    Syrian Army Regains Full Control of Northeast Aleppo - Militia Source
    Casualties Reported in Militants' Shelling of Western Aleppo
    Syrian Army Liberates 40% of East Aleppo From Terrorists - Russian MoD
    Militants Forced Out From Key East Aleppo Region - Russian Military
    terrorism, military conflict, Syrian Arab Army, Aleppo, Syria, Russia, United States
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