Head of the Syrian opposition’s negotiating delegation Asa’ad Alzoabi warned of an Iranian-Russian plan aimed to break into Aleppo and the eastern Ghouta in rural Damascus.
More than 3,000 Iranian troops and 1,500 regime troops massed close to eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, Alzoubi told Alsharq Alawsat newspaper.
Alzoubi also said convoys of Russian troops from Humeymim Russian military air base in Tartous were heading towards Aleppo, adding that five heavy-duty Russian artillery platoons are already positioned to encircle Aleppo.
“The Iranian-Russian attack on Aleppo failed for the second time, after they had lost in February. The Iranians have lost two-fold this time especially that they have admitted the death of dozens of their troops,” he added.
“I can confirm that over a hundred Iranian soldiers, including Major Generals, have been killed and many were captured during the last attack on Aleppo,” Alzoabi said.
“Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials threatened to and insisted on re-launching campaigns against Aleppo, the city that had cut off Iran’s headway in Syria multiple times.”
Alzoubi also pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already outlined a plan to support the Iranian forces in restoring dominance over Aleppo.
Furthermore, Alzoabi said that the FSA and other rebel groups are fully prepared to defend their positions and are capable of facing any approaching confrontation.
It is estimated that 69,000 Iranian soldiers are present in Syria, Alzoabi added.
Regarding the ceasefire, Alzoabi said that it is “shameful” to speak of a ceasefire in light of non-stop missiles and artillery fire by the Assad regime and its allies.
He added that the Russians talk about cessation of hostilities as if they were peaking of a series of endless episodes. “Only this Wednesday, a mosque, a hospital and a shopping market have been leveled to the ground. Meanwhile, the Russians, bluntly, speak of extending the ceasefire for 48 hours. The ceasefire is for mere media consumption,” Alzoabi said.
FSA and rebel fighters said they had killed no fewer than 15 regime and Iranian-backed foreign militants who were trying to advance on the front of Alrashidin in western Aleppo under close Russian aerial support at dawn today.
Local Coordination Committees said they documented that around 54 people, including 7 children and 2 women, were killed by regime and Russian forces on Wednesday. The victims also included 2 civilians killed under torture in Assad’s prisons. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Alsharq Alawsat)