Al Masdar News in Aleppo exclusively met the commander of military operations in Aleppo
Head of the security committee and commander of the military operations in Aleppo, Major-General Zaid Saleh, said that the Syrian Army and allies are tightening the noose around Islamist rebels in eastern Aleppo, accusing them of using civilians as human shields to hamper the Army advance.
“The terrorist groups are using civilians as human shields to prevent the Army from targeting them. They heavily depend on US and Turkey to supply them with weapons. But we won’t allow this to happen; they can’t fight the Syrian Army forever”, Major-General Zaid told Al Masdar News correspondent in an exclusive interview.
On September 22nd, the Syrian Army Command said it is launching a full-scale offensive to recapture all rebel-held held districts in the city’s east. Ever since, the government troops have been making significant advances in the insurgent-controlled territories.
The military commander also made clear that moderate rebels ‘who might have – at one point – involved in hostile activities against the Syrian Army’ still have the chance to lay down their arms and have their status settled.
“Terrorist groups such as Al-Nusra Front and Nour al-Din al-Zinki – who originally refused to abide with the recent ceasefire – must be fought against to be either killed or ousted out”, he commented.
On the number of militants holed up inside the eastern districts of Aleppo he said “it is estimated that 2500 militants (representing 20 different groups) are now inside the eastern districts, most of them are fighting for A-Nusra Front and Nour al-Din al-Zinki movement”.
Major-General Zaid held the US responsible for derailing the ceasefire since it hasn’t pressed on the rebel groups to halt the hostilities. He noted that more than 100 civilians and Army soldiers have been killed in rebel attacks during the implementation of the agreement.
“We are ready to response to any foreign attack, be it American or Turkish or any other. Nearly two weeks ago the Syrian Army has shot an Israeli fighter jet in the southwestern province of Quneitra, so all foreign aggression will be dealt with appropriately”, he added.
Replaying to a question about the efficiency of Russian aerial support for Aleppo operations, he said “Russians are true friends and allies; they totally abide to the international law and help the Syrian Army deliver humanitarian aid in Aleppo.