Opposition fighters drive a tank in an eastern government sieged neighbourhood of Aleppo as jihadists and their rebel allies pressed an offensive on August 5, 2016
Opposition fighters drive a tank in an eastern government sieged neighbourhood of Aleppo as jihadists and their rebel allies pressed an offensive on August 5, 2016 © Omar haj kadour - AFP/File
Opposition fighters drive a tank in an eastern government sieged neighbourhood of Aleppo as jihadists and their rebel allies pressed an offensive on August 5, 2016
AFP
Last updated: August 8, 2016

Jihadist and rebel groups launch battle to regain Aleppo

Banner Icon A Syrian rebel alliance on Sunday announced the start of a battle to recapture the whole of Aleppo, the day after they broke a government siege on rebel-held areas in the country's second city.

The "Army of Conquest", a coalition of rebels and jihadists including the former Al-Nusra Front, said in a statement it would "double the number of fighters for this next battle".

"We announce the start of a new phase to liberate all of Aleppo" after a week of continuous fighting, the group said.

"We will not rest until we raise the flag of the conquest over Aleppo's citadel," it added.

The group's fighters surged through regime territory on Saturday, breaking a three-week government siege in a major setback for the regime.

The rebel coalition opened a new route into the northern city's besieged eastern neighbourhoods, home to an estimated 250,000 people.

The operation triggered celebrations in eastern districts and sparked fears in regime-controlled western areas of the divided city of food and fuel shortages.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it was one of the most significant setbacks for government forces since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

Syrian regime forces redeployed on Sunday to escape being surrounded in neighbourhoods they control in Aleppo, scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the civil war.

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