World Bulletin / News Desk
The Syrian army and allied Iranian and Hezbollah forces are preparing for a ground offensive against insurgents in the Aleppo area backed by Russian air strikes, two senior regional officials familiar with the plans said on Tuesday, reported Reuters.
The offensive itself would further ground attack launched by the alliance last week that is currently targeting rebels in Hama province further west. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said thousands of Iranian troops had arrived to take part in the ground offensives in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
A massive government offensive in the area near the Turkish border is likely to further anger NATO member Ankara, which has backed insurgents fighting Assad and has already expressed deep concern over Russian air strikes that have targeted them.
The control Aleppo and its surrounding province is divided between the Syrian government, a range of insurgent groups fighting Assad, andISILthat controls some rural areas near the city.
"The big battle preparations in that area are clear," said one of the officials. "There is a large mobilization of the Syrian army ... elite Hezbollah fighters, and thousands of Iranians who arrived in stages in recent days," said the official.
The second official, who is close to the Syrian government, said: "The decision to launch the battle of Aleppo has been taken ... It is no longer hidden that thousands of Iranians are now in Syria and their role is fundamental."Last Mod: 14 Ekim 2015, 09:33