Regime forces control Damascus but major Aleppo battle still only just beginning
The Syrian army said Saturday it had taken over a neighborhood of Damascus which was in rebel hands. The Syrian army now controls all of the capital after taking control Saturday on Tadamoun district, said the general in charge of the operations in this area. "The situation in Damascus is excellent and stable. There is no presence of armed groups, with the exception of a few individuals who move from one place to another to show they exist, "said the officer.
The re-take of Tadamoun, adjacent to the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, was confirmed by the opposition. "The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has withdrawn from Tadamoun, but its members are present across the capital where they are conducting targeted attacks before disappearing," said one activist. The rebels had launched their attack on July 15 for what they called the liberation of the Syrian capital.
In Aleppo, located 355 km north of Damascus and whose control is crucial to the outcome of the conflict, aircraft and artillery bombed Saturday several rebel-held areas, especially the districts of Shaar and Sakhour as well as Salaheddin and Seif al-Dawla in the west. These bombings are "most violent since the beginning of the battle but the army of Bashar (Assad) failed to move forward," said the head of the FSA command in Aleppo.
A senior security official in the region, however, assured that these raids were the "appetizers" for a major battle. At least 20,000 soldiers, he said, were deployed on the front of Aleppo, where the army and insurgents continue to send reinforcements.
The OSDH reported Saturday at least 78 dead - 45 civilians, 26 soldiers and seven rebels - across the country.