SYRIAN troops advanced into Aleppo’s central old city yesterday in the final offensive against 5,000 Western-backed insurgents.
They liberated the Farafira district on the north side of the medieval citadel, a narrow salient where soldiers have held out against guerillas for four years.
On Monday, the army warned the civilians remaining in the area to avoid insurgent positions and flee to government-held territory.
But in Hama yesterday, the al-Qaida-linked Jund al-Aqsa, the Free Syrian Army and the Chechen Jund al-Sham captured three more villages east of Maan.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner angrily denied on Monday that Washington had supplied the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front with advanced heavy weapons, after a leader of the group told a German newspaper that it had received such arms from the US.
However, unnamed Pentagon officials told the Reuters news agency that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey may soon send large number of US-supplied shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to the insurgents.
Image: Syrian pro-government forces advance in Myessar district in east Aleppo on Sunday in ongoing operation to capture battered second city (AFP). [Source: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/rebels-defiant-syrian-army-nears-aleppos-old-city-1291506711]