The Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups in the areas made big gains against regime forces and their allied Iranian-backed militias on Friday south of Aleppo, most notably around the towns of Khan Touman and Khirbat Mirata.
The offensive began at noon on Friday as a large number of FSA and rebel fighters backed by a handful of armored vehicles attacked eastwards of Khan Touman town towards an area mostly defended by Iranian militants who were unable to offer much resistance and subsequently retreated from their positions.
The rebels’ assault succeeded in capturing the villages of Qal’ajiyah, Alhumayra, Alqarassi hilltop, the Khan Touman depots, the Air Defense Battalion and the fuel depots. Airstrikes launched by Russia and the Assad regime throughout Friday afternoon, however, were unable to stop the rapid advances by rebel fighters.
Dozens of regime and allied foreign militias were killed or injured in the rebel offensive, in addition to the capture of many more, including Iranian and Afghan militants. The FSA and rebel fighters also seized weapons and ammunition.
Activists said the offensive is aimed at capturing the entire southern rural Aleppo and link the areas there with the liberated areas west of Aleppo. The offensive came a day after more than 60 civilians, including 22 children, were killed and hundreds more injured in airstrikes by regime and Russian forces in Aleppo.
The intense aerial bombardment on northern and western rural Aleppo coupled with the attacks by the PYD militias have prompted a mass exodus of people towards less dangerous areas in the north of Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Smart News Agency)