At least 40 regime soldiers have been killed in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo as opposition groups wage a fierce attack on the government-held areas in Aleppo city from several directions, advancing significantly from the west side of the city and causing many losses of regime military vehicles according to the opposition-run Orient-news.net
The Sukur al Sham and Nur al din al zinki opposition groups are the main groups involved in the recent attacks, part of the “Aleppo Conquest” operation room which was formed by the rebels with the aim of capturing the city of Aleppo from regime forces.
A military leader in the battle called Abu Hamza told Orient.net that “the battle on al Rashidin in the west part of the city has a strategic importance for reaching the regime-controlled New Aleppo nieghbouhood in which there are a lot of regime military leaders and checkpoints.”
“If rebels take control of New Aleppo, this will open the way towards the West Highway which separates the regime-held Hamdanieh neighbourhood from the city center,“ he said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported the deaths of 34 civilians on Monday, including 12 children and 5 women, due to heavy shelling by opposition groups.
The shelling was directed at the regime-held neighborhoods of the New Siryan, the Old Siryan, Masaken al Sabil, al Aziziyyi, al Ramosi, al Isma’illiyyi, al Masharfah, al Shahbaa, near al Rahman mosque and other places in al Nile street in the city of Aleppo.
SOHR described Sunday’s shellings as “the largest massacre committed by the rebel” groups in the city of Aleppo.
Regime forces launched several ground-to-ground missiles at the neighborhoods of the main opposition-held areas of al Zibdiyyi and al Mashhad as well as on Mare’ in the countryside north of Aleppo, according to the SOHR.
Clashes are still ongoing in the neighborhoods of al- Khalidiya, al- Rashidin, al- Ashrafiyya and on the outskirts of the neighborhood of Bani Zeid, accompanied by regime aerial bombardment of the areas.
UN Syria envoy in Damascus
The United Nations special envoy for the Syrian crisis, Staffan de Mistura, met the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al Muallim, during a visit to Damascus as part of a plan to meet the parties involved in the Syrian war and unite them on a common ground.
"During his visit, Mr. de Mistura intends to raise with the Syrian government the issue of protection of civilians, underlining once again the unacceptable use of barrel bombs and the incontestable duty of any government, in all circumstances, to protect its civilians," de Mistura’s office said in a statement.
De Mistura started mediating the talks last month in Geneva. He was expected to meet one-on-one 40 delegations including Syrian officials, opposition leaders, and civil society and representatives of governments in the region influencing the war in Syria. However he was only able to meet with about half of them because some have refused to sit down with him.
The main Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), did not accept de Mistura’s invitation to the Geneva talks. De Mistura later came and met with the SNC in Istanbul.
The provisional timetable and the due date of the report which is expected to be delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the end of June have been extended as the meetings scheduled to be held with parties to the Syrian conflict will continue until July according to the statement.
De Mistura also plans to discuss with Syrian officials the humanitarian situation in Syria and in particular those people directly affected by the war.
"In his discussions, the Special Envoy plans to convey once again to Syrian officials his deep conviction that no solution to the Syrian conflict can be imposed by force and that an inclusive and Syrian-led and owned political settlement is urgently needed," the statement said.