Daily Management Review

Syrian Forces Edge Towards Turkey Border Helped by Russian Airpower


Syrian Forces Edge Towards Turkey Border Helped by Russian Airpower
In a major offensive backed by Russia and Iran, the Syrian army advanced toward the Turkish border on Monday. This the rebels say has seriously jeopardized the future of their nearly five-year-old insurrection against President Bashar al-Assad.
As Russian jets intensified what rebels call a scorched earth policy that has allowed the military back into the strategic northern area for the first time in more than two years, Iranian backed-militias played a key role on the ground.

"Our whole existence is now threatened, not just losing more ground. They are advancing and we are pulling back because in the face of such heavy aerial bombing we must minimize our losses," said Abdul Rahim al-Najdawi from Liwa al-Tawheed, an insurgent group.

Resulting in halting the first peace talks for two years, which collapsed last week before they had begun in earnest, the Russian-backed Syrian government advance over recent days amounts to one of the biggest shifts in momentum of the war.
The rebels, residents and a conflict monitor said that the rebel-held town of Tal Rafaat was just five km ( 3 Miles) away from the Syrian military and its allies. This town is just about 25 km (16 miles) from the Turkish border.
Tens of thousands of resident of Aleppo have been forced to flee toward Turkey following the assault around the city. Turkey is already sheltering more than 2.5 million Syrians, the world's largest refugee population.

There were several thousand more refugees after the escalating Russian bombardment of towns north-west of Aleppo, Anadan and Haritan in the last two days.
Government and rebels had held two different sections of Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the war with 2 million people.
In a war that has already killed at least 250,000 people and driven 11 million from their homes the taking of Aleppo by the government would make it the biggest prize yet in the war, the government has said.
 There are around 350,000 more people residing in the rebel held areas of the city. Turkey was under threat and Ankara has so far kept the border crossing there closed to most refugees, the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted at the weekend as saying.
Choking opposition supply lines from Turkey, Syrian government troops and their allies broke through rebel defenses to reach two Shi'ite towns in northern Aleppo province on Wednesday after around a week of heavy Russian air strikes.
Blaming bomb attacks primarily from the Russian side and suggesting they violated a U.N. Security Council resolution Moscow signed in December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "appalled" by the suffering of Aleppo.
The main highway that linked rebel held areas in the northern countryside with the eastern part of Aleppo held by insurgents since 2012 was cut off after the Syrian army's success in opening a route to the Shi'ite towns of Nubul and Zahraa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the latest gains by the Syrian government had brought it to the closest point to the Turkish border area since August 2013.

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