Syrian Government Forces Advance in Aleppo Old City

BEIRUT (Reuters) -
A still image taken on September 27, 2016 from a drone footage obtained by Reuters shows damaged buildings in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria. Handout via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
A still image taken on Tuesday from a drone footage obtained by Reuters shows damaged buildings in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria. (Handout via Reuters)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Syrian government forces advanced against rebels in the Old City of Aleppo on Tuesday as part of a major offensive launched last week.

A senior rebel official in an Aleppo-based faction said there were clashes in the Suweiqa area of the city. He said government forces had briefly taken over some positions there but were forced to withdraw.

Syrian state media reported troops had taken over an area close to the city’s ancient citadel, near Suweiqa.

Syrian and Russian warplanes and artillery bombarded a number of areas in and around the city as ground forces amassed to support attacks, a second rebel official from another Aleppo-based faction said.

That official said terrorists had halted any government attempts to advance on the ground.

The Syrian army has launched a new offensive that aims to retake what was Syria’s largest city before the war, in what would be a major strategic prize for the government and a blow to the five-year-old rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.