Syrian troops have made significant advances against the last rebel held enclaves in the country’s northwest, state media said on Sunday, consolidating the government’s hold over the key Aleppo province.
The Syrian government advance also appeared to put the provincial capital of Aleppo out of the firing range of opposition groups for the first time in years, another sign of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s growing control of the area.
The armed opposition had been driven out of Aleppo city’s eastern quarters in late 2016, which they controlled for years while battling government forces who were in charge in the western part. Rebel groups had continued to harry government forces, however, from outside the city with mortar rounds.
State news agency SANA reported 30 villages and towns around the city in the western Aleppo countryside were captured on Sunday.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Britain-based war monitor Syria Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed the report.
“This means the control of Aleppo (city), and the countryside and securing all of Aleppo,” Abdul-Rahman said.
The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV said government troops were still besieging remnants of opposition fighters in a small part of rural Aleppo.
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