Syrian and Palestinian Units liberate Handarat Refugee Camp from Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham
Units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by the Palestinian Liwa Al-Quds liberated the Palestinian Handarat refugee camp in Aleppo province from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah.
The Handarat refugee camp is located 13 kilometers northeast of the city of Aleppo. The 14 Palestinian refugee camps, including Handarat were reluctantly drawn into the war in Syria after its onset in 2011.
Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah, conceded that the Syrian Arab Army and fighters from the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds had succeeded to seize the camp. The insurgents reported that the Syian – Palestinian ground troops were supported by Syrian as well as Russian air cover.
Bomb squads and engineers are currently in the process of clearing Handarat for boobie traps, mine, improvised explosive devices and other hazards left behind by the insurgents or caused by the fighting; Anong others, unexploded ordinance.
The liberation of the Handarat camp from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and associated insurgents consolidates the Syrian government’s control over the Castello road and thus also consolidates the siege on insurgent trapped inside the city of Aleppo. The Castello road has previously been used as one of the main supply routes to areas under the control of insurgents in Aleppo province.
In the beginning of August 2016 insurgents, primarily backed by Turkey, Qatar and the USA, took control of the entire Handarat camp after heavy and protracted battles with the Syrian Arab Amy and Palestinian fighters.
The camp has a strategic importance as it overlooks several rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, which has become under tight government siege after the Syrian army captured Castello.
The Syrian Defense Ministry announced Thursday the commencement of a new offensive against rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, urging the civilians to leave immediately and the rebels to lay down their weapons. On Friday, Syrian warplanes dropped leaflets over eastern Aleppo, renewing calls on civilians to stay away from the rebel positions and advising the rebels to surrender.
The renewed escalation in Aleppo came just days after a Russian-U.S. brokered truce expired last Monday with no extension, due to the rising tension between Russia and the United States.
The Syrian army stated that the rebels violated the week-long truce over 300 times, adding that the U.S.-led coalition struck positions of the Syrian army during the truce in Deir Ez-Zour, killing 90 soldiers, which was deemed by Russia as the biggest violation to the truce.
The U.S.-led attack on Syrian army positions in Deir al-Zour (Deir Ez-Zor) was the first since the coalition started operations in Syria two years ago. Washington said the attack was “unintentional,” a claim totally rejected by the Syrian government, with President Bashar al-Assad saying the U.S.-led coalition intentionally struck the Syrian army posts in Deir Ez-Zor.
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