The announcement came hours after troops consolidated the government’s hold over the key Aleppo province, capturing over 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in one day and securing the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire, AP reported.
Troops were removing barriers and roadblocks on Monday in villages and districts that were earlier controlled by terrorists, state TV reported. The Britain-based so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported clashes in Jabal Sheik Akeel, northwest of the city of Aleppo, the provincial capital.
The armed opposition was driven out of the city’s eastern quarters in late 2016, which they had controlled for years while battling government forces in charge in the western section. However, terrorist groups continued to target government forces from outside the city with mortar rounds. They also controlled large parts of western rural Aleppo, territories that linked them to Idlib province, the terrorists’ last major stronghold.
The new advances, along with securing a key highway that ran through rebel territory, are set to facilitate movement between northern and southern Syria, including the city of Aleppo, Syria’s commercial center before the war.
The developments sparked late night celebrations in the city, with state media showing images of residents waving flags and dancing in the streets packed with vehicles.