Syrian Army medium machine gun team during clashes in southern Aleppo (Source: Sputnik / Mikhail Alayeddin).

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:15 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) kicked off their long-awaited offensive in the western part of Aleppo last night after spending the last few weeks building up their forces in the city.

READ ALSO: Heavy clashes erupt in southwest Aleppo as Syrian Army’s offensive approaches 

Led by the 4th Armored Division, the Syrian Arab Army began their offensive in western Aleppo by launching a massive artillery barrage on the jihadist defenses from the Al-Zahra’a Association Quarter all the way to Rashiddeen 3 and 4 suburbs.

According to a military source near the front-lines, the Syrian Army’s 4th Armored Division then began their tank assault on the jihadist defenses near the Great Prophet Mosque, Scientific Research Building, and Rashidden 3 suburb.

The source denied all reports that alleged the Syrian Arab Army entered the Rashiddeen suburbs or captured any significant ground in western Aleppo.

He would add that the Syrian Army’s first phase of the offensive is to heavily target the jihadist front-lines with heavy artillery and tank fire; they will then begin their push on the ground.

Since late December, the Syrian Arab Army has been building up their forces in the Aleppo Governorate; this has been conducted in conjunction with the increased aerial bombardment of the jihadist-held areas.

The Syrian Army’s primary objective of this offensive is to expel the jihadist forces from all areas along the western outskirts of Aleppo city.

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