Syrian Rebels Claim to Break Through Aleppo Siege

Syrian rebels broke through to besieged opposition-held areas in eastern Aleppo on Saturday in an assault on a major government military complex meant to end a month-long siege, insurgents and a monitoring group said.

Pro-government media outlets denied the siege had been broken. The heavy fighting and air strikes reported from the area seemed to indicate any passage that may have been opened would be far from secure enough for civilians to travel through.

Rebels have been trying to break through a thin strip of government-controlled territory to reconnect insurgent areas in western Syria with their encircled sector of eastern Aleppo, in effect breaking a government siege begun last month.

Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week

The offensive against the government’s Ramousah military complex, which contains a number of military colleges, began on Friday. Taking control of Ramousah and linking up with eastern Aleppo would isolate government-held western Aleppo by cutting the southern route out toward the capital Damascus.

It would also give rebels access to armaments stored in the base the Syrian army has used in the five-year conflict as a strategic platform from which to shell opposition targets.

Two rebel groups and a monitor said on Saturday they had broken the siege, but pro-government media outlets denied the claim and said the Syrian army was in fact regaining recently taken territory from rebels.