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3 Feb, 2016 16:58

Syrian Army ends 3-year siege of 2 Shiite towns in Aleppo – reports

Syrian Amy units have broken a siege imposed by terrorist organizations in the towns of Nubbul and al-Zahraa, local media report.

"The Syrian army and its allies have totally broken the siege on Nubul and Zahraa," a senior army official told Reuters.

The siege is said to have lasted for 40 months. The Syrian troops were assisted by local fighters in order to break it.

The Syrian Army has also managed to cut off supply routes for the terrorists between the towns of Mayer and Maarasta al-Khan, Syrian radio and TV reports.

The end to the siege has been described as a major “breakthrough” for the Syrian army by Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

“It is actually a breakthrough for the Syrian army in Aleppo area,” he told RT. “I believe this will change the equation there and it could be a turning point. Aleppo is actually very close to falling, partly or fully, to the hands of the Syrian official forces.”

Atwan attributed the success of the operation to the Russian forces providing a “very efficient air cover” that in cooperation with Syrian ground forces resulted in “huge advances.”

Earlier in the day, the army worked in cooperation with local defense units to destroy a vehicle equipped with heavy machine guns near Maarasta al-Khan village, a source on the ground told SANA. The vehicle belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, the source said.

The Syrian army has lately been making advances in the west of the country. On Monday, it seized a strategically important village, Hardatnin, located about 10 km (6 miles) northwest of Aleppo.

On the same day, the town of Kinsabba in Latakia was also recaptured by Syrian troops.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura announced on Wednesday that the Syria talks in Geneva are to be “temporarily halted” until February 25. 

The UN official said that he was not frustrated or disappointed with the process, but has to be realistic.

Citing difficulties with select procedural matters for the break in talks, de Mistura said he remained determined to continue with the negotiations.

Countries backing the talks will be asked to meet again immediately to resolve the issues, he added.