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    Liberation of Aleppo 'Will Be a Major Political Victory' of Syrian Government

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    The liberation of Aleppo will be not only a military but also a major political victory of Damascus, French geopolitical analyst and researcher Frederic Pichon told Le Figaro.

    The recent humanitarian pause in Aleppo was aimed to let civilians and militants leave the city through the designated humanitarian corridors. However, there are still capable militant forces in the besieged city. Moreover, militants threatened and executed civilians attempting to leave the city.

    According to Pichon, the situation in Aleppo resembled a scenario used earlier in Homs where militants were also allowed to leave the city.

    "Militants could bring their weapons and get away. But in terms of politics, their withdrawal from Aleppo would be a failure. The liberation of Aleppo would be a major victory for the Syrian government," the expert said.

    He added that the situation in which civilians are held hostage, is likely to be repeated in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Currently, the Iraqi Army and its allies backed by the US-led coalition are conducting an offensive on the city.

    Pichon also said citing a source in Damascus that the Syrian army is now considering a plan of a ground operation in Aleppo, because airstrikes are limited in a city with a population of some 800,000 people.

    Earlier, a Syrian army officer told Sputnik that the government forces so far adopted a defensive policy in Aleppo to avoid casualties among civilians. The officer added that the leaders of militant groups were hiding in the most densely populated neighborhoods, and they had prevented civilians from leaving the city.

    For already 13 days, neither Syrian, nor Russian aviation carried out flights over Aleppo, unlike the US-led coalition over the Iraqi Mosul, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier in the day.

    The analyst also suggested that the operation in Mosul would draw West’s attention from Aleppo.

    "The liberation of Aleppo would restore Damascus’ control in the province. It will bury the hopes that the city will turn into rebels’ capital in northern Syria. Moreover, the liberation of Aleppo will help prevent the division of Syria," Pichon suggested.

    In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria
    © AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, File
    On Friday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that Damascus will continue the fight against terrorism and vowed that Aleppo will be liberated.

    "We will not reduce our efforts in the fight against terrorism, liberate Aleppo from terrorists and restore the unity of the city. The humanitarian situation, of course, should be taken into account. During the truce in Aleppo, it became crystal clear who truly violated the ceasefire and with what intentions, as well as who prevents the evacuation of civilians and wounded," Muallem said during a press conference with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

    However, the French analyst also noted that the Mosul offensive could increase the number of terrorists in Syria. Militants fleeing Mosul would try to hold positions in eastern Syria. In this context, the next stage should be the battle for Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Daesh caliphate.

    On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of a military operation to recapture Mosul from Daesh with the help of airstrikes by the US-led coalition.


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