The Syrian Army has uncovered stocks of weaponry and ammunition, including a large caliber anti-aircraft gun and hand-built artillery piece used to lob shells down on population centers, at a terrorist hideout near the town of Hajjan, about 10 km northwest of Aleppo city, SANA has reported, with one of its correspondents sending back photos and video footage from the scene.
The report revealed that the base, believed to have been used by Nusra* militants and groups affiliated with them, included an intricate underground tunnel and trench network, including a headquarters and living facilities used by the terrorists, and appeared to be built by hand.
Earlier in the week, the military found a makeshift terrorist field hospital in an abandoned school in Hajjan containing Saudi and Qatari-made medical equipment, gas masks, medicines, vehicles and US-made TOW missiles.
The Syrian Army stepped up its military operations in rural areas of Aleppo and neighbouring Idlib in recent weeks, targeting terrorist HQs, vehicles and equipment and freeing dozens of settlements.
On Saturday, Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud announced that the M-5 Damascus-Aleppo Highway linking the country’s two largest cities had been officially reopened to civilian traffic following operations to clear out the remaining militant-controlled areas last week.
Also this week, Damascus approved a comprehensive reconstruction, economic and services plan for Aleppo province, providing funding for agricultural, industrial, and petroleum production and storage, as well as civilian housing, schools and hospitals. Earlier, Aleppo International Airport was opened to its first civilian flight in eight years.
On Friday, Syrian media reported that the Army was continuing its operations against fortified terrorist positions in Atarib and Darat Izza, two Aleppo region towns situated near the border with Turkey.
The Syrian Army began an offensive in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which includes part of Aleppo, in late 2019 after repeated militant attacks on Syrian forces claimed the lines of dozens of Syrian troops. Tensions in the area escalated dramatically earlier this month, after at least seven Turkish troops were killed and seven more wounded in a Syrian artillery attack which hit one the twelve observation posts Turkey has dotting the renegade region. The attack prompted Ankara to threaten a large-scale response.
Containing tens of thousands of armed rebels and terrorists, along with as many as three million civilians, the Idlib de-escalation zone is the now the most populous territory outside the Syrian government’s control.