In a major development, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was able to impose full control over the Khalidiyeh neighbourhood and most of the Al-Layramoun Industrial Area this evening after fierce urban clashes with Islamist insurgents defending the districts.
A military source in the area confirmed to Al-Masdar News that elements of the SAA’s 4th Division and the Republican Guards had cleared the final rebel-held buildings in Khalidiyeh while simultaneously taking control of Layramoun’s gas factory, market, and glass factory.
This represents the largest single advance inside Aleppo for years; the city has been locked down in a military stalemate since 2014.
Nevertheless, Islamist rebels are still held up at Layramoun’s bus station while the SAA has fire control over the Layramoun roundabout, a site just 50 meters from the nearest government positions in the area.
Effectively, government troops at Layramoun are now just 2500 meters from linking up with the SAA’s Tiger Forces in northern Aleppo.
Notably, the Al-Layramoun neighbourhood also borders the Castello road which is now under fire control from two separate flanks.
Meanwhile, these advances also relieve pressure on the SAA’s Tiger Forces on the northern Aleppo outskirts – their positions at the Al-Mallah farms have been under daily jihadist attacks over the past week in an effort to reopen the Castello road.
The Tiger Forces, Syria’s most elite assault troops, have been tasked with capturing the Castello road. Colonel Suheil al-Hassan will lead the Tiger Forces’ charge to take the imperative highway.
Formerly, the Castello road served as the last supply line to thousands of Islamist insurgents in Aleppo along with some 250,000 civilians now trapped inside the city.
For now, the SAA’s soldiers have been unable to capture the Castello highway as it lacks highly needed fortifications; if government troops were to storm the road, they would not only find themselves in no man’s land but also exposed to rebel fire two directions.
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