Syrian Army Reaches Main Road Into Rebel-Held Aleppo

BEIRUT (Reuters) -
Smoke rises after airstrikes on Aleppo's Castello road, Syria June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/File Photo
Smoke rises after airstrikes on Aleppo’s Castello Road, Syria, June 2. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail/File Photo)

Pro-Syrian government forces reached the only main road into the rebel-held part of Aleppo on Sunday, further tightening their control around opposition areas of the main northern city.

Commander Abu Ibrahim, from the Nuri Al Din Zinki rebel group, said the regional rebel command center was now telling people to stay away from the area.

“The Castello Road is completely cut as a result of the clashes and the advance of the Assad gangs. We warn all civilians from using the road at all, by any means,” he said.

“It’s completely cut,” Zakaria Malahifji of the Aleppo-based rebel group Fastaqim, confirmed to Reuters.

A third source from an Aleppo-based rebel group, the Levant Front, reported that the pro-government forces had reached the highway, known as the Castello Road. Both Fastaqim and the Levant Front said that fighting is continuing as rebels attempt to recapture lost ground.

Aleppo has been a major battleground in the Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government had already captured ground overlooking Castello Road nearly two weeks ago, effectively shutting it down – although a local opposition figure said some supplies had still been getting through to the roughly 300,000 people in rebel-held districts.