Syrian army's progress in Aleppo could entirely change conflict map: expert

Huang Panyue

DAMASCUS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The sweeping progress made by the Syrian army against the rebels in the northern province of Aleppo is "strategic and pivotal and will entirely change the conflict map," a Syrian political expert told Xinhua in an interview.

The Syrian army was able to lay a full siege on rebel-held areas in the eastern part of the Aleppo city, after effectively severing their last supply route into the city, an achievement that will have positive repercussions on the political tracks to resolve the Syrian crisis.

"This victory will enable the Syrian state to wrest back control over one of the very important regions, which has an economic, demographic and political importance," said Danura, who holds a PhD in political science and is a member in the government delegation to the Geneva talks on Syria issue.

Danura said the progress made in Aleppo is the result of a long strategic coordination between the Syrian and Russian forces, adding that it also came after the Turkish side, which was active in supporting the rebellion in Aleppo, was marginalized following the failed coup attempt in Turkey last month.

The Turkish coup has made Ankara busy rearranging its inner home, which led to lifting the cover from the rebels, who were largely supported by Turkey.

"The rebel losses in Aleppo will usher in further defeats, which could lead to softening the reluctance stance of the exiled opposition," he said.

Speaking of the opposition, Danura continued that the Western powers and the United States must play a more positive role in finding a solution to the crisis, by pushing the opposition to lower their expectations and their "wooden language."

Regarding the future of the Syrian crisis after the military progress in Aleppo, Danura said the Syrian government will continue to fight terrorist groups, as long as they keep their terrorist mentality.

He said the pardon offered by Assad recently is a step toward achieving a national reconciliation, which, itself, is a step toward a solution to the crisis.

Late last month, the Syrian army stormed the Bani Zaid area, a main rebel stronghold in the eastern part of Aleppo.

The progress came days after the army severed the last rebel supply route connecting rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo, with rebel-controlled parts in the eastern part of the city.

Severing the Castello road has dealt a strong blow to the rebels inside Aleppo.

With the progress made, the Syrian army has fully besieged eastern Aleppo, urging the rebels to surrender themselves and the civilians to cooperate.

Moreover, President Bashar al-Assad announced an amnesty for the rebels who surrender themselves and their weapons to the authorities.

The Syrian authorities in cooperation with the Russians also opened three safe passages for civilians wishing to leave eastern Aleppo. They also opened a fourth one for the rebels who would want to surrender themselves.

On Tuesday, state news agency SANA said dozens of families evacuated eastern districts in Aleppo, the second batch to leave the city since the government offered the safe passages.

SANA also said rebel fighters surrendered themselves to the authorities.

Video clips of rebels surrendering were aired on several Syrian TVs.

With the Syrian army making all this progress in Aleppo, the rebels, including jihadi ones, unleashed several attacks over the past week to try to break the government-imposed siege.

However, all of their efforts have been rendered flat so far, as the government siege on rebel-held areas is still in place.

Aleppo, Syria's largest province and once a thriving economic metropolis, has witnessed intensified violent battles lately as the Syrian army advances against the rebels in the north.

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