ANF * – Aleppo
Fighting has once again broken out in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city. At least 250 are known to have died in barrel bomb attacks launched by Syrian government forces. Separately, clashes between opposition groups and al-Qaeda have intensified in the town of Coanbeyli on the Turkish-Syrian Border.
According to the London-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory, government forces have attacked neighborhoods in Aleppo employing barrel bombs – or barrels packed with TNT. Close to 250 are known to have died in the attacks, including 73 children. Hundreds were also injured and many thousands forced to flee their homes. According to the HRO only 11 of the dead were opposition fighters, while thirty percent of the casualties were under the age of 18.
Areas under opposition control have suffered under government bombardment since 2012, with attacks becoming heavier since the middle of December. Hundreds have been killed over the past couple of months. Government forces in the Western neighborhoods of the city are advancing on the ground toward neighborhoods in the east and the north. An attack this morning on the neighborhood of El Meesraniyê between Mesakên Henano and Seken El-?ebabi resulted in heavy material damage.
Government forces are also fighting with opposition groups in Derya, in Southern Syria, and the town of Zebadani in the northwest of the country.
Fighting Between Opposition Groups and Al-Qaeda
As government forces battle their opponents in the city, fighting also continues between opposition groups and al-Qaeda. Fighting in the town of El Rai and the village of Kiebe, to the north-east of Aleppo, has grown heavier in recent days. Opposition groups are reported to have made advances against the Islamic State or Iraq and Sham (ISIS), taking control of Kiebe and capturing a large number of vehicles. Losses are said to be heavy on both sides. The El-Ekrad Brigade, a Kurdish self-defense militia, and local opposition groups are also engaged in clashes with the ISIS the Minbic Road, in the vicinity of EL Heman Mountain and the Qereqozaq bridge. At least four ISIS fighters are reported dead, and a large number were wounded.
Fight For Dominance Along Turkish Border
According to news outlet Â Al-Jazeera, opposition groups are also struggling for control of the Turkish border. Elements of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army launched an offensive early this morning to retake Çobanbeyli, a town populated by Turkmens, from the ISIS. While fighting continues, it is reported that the FSA has made advances.
FSA forces have also attacked the ISIS in the cities of Azaz and Minbic in Northern Syria in an attempt to recapture the Bab region. The ISIS had launched an offensive last week to take control of 170 Turkmen villages between Rakka and Azaz. A number of villages, such as Çobanbeyli, are currently under the group’s control.
Fighting is now occurring along a 270 KM strech of the Syrian-Turkish border, including the Öncüp?nar and Akçakale border crossings. In Turkey a town of 15,000 has been completely evacuated, with residents taking refuge in Kilis or Gaziantep.
* Translation by The Rojava Report