The Syrian army has taken control of a key Aleppo neighborhood, Bustan al-Basha, located on the front line between rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo and the rest of the city.
“An army unit in cooperation with the supporting forces carried out a ‘swift’ operation against the fortified sites of the terrorist organizations in Bustan al-Basha neighborhood in Aleppo city,” the Syrian Arab News Agency quoted a military source as saying. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, this is the first time government forces have made ground in the area since losing Bustan al-Basha to rebel forces three years ago.
Rebel-held districts of Aleppo have been subject to intense air strikes from Russian and Syrian forces since a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire in the region was called off. The United Nations reported that at least 376 people had been killed and 1,266 injured in the past two weeks alone. However, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told CNN that the real numbers are probably much higher than what was reported. He also stressed that if the bombings continue at the current rate, the city of Aleppo “may be totally destroyed.”