Damascus: The Syrian Army has started its ground operation in the northern Aleppo province, a pro-government paper said Thursday.
The Syrian troops started at dawn Wednesday its wide-scale ground operation, during which the troops have managed to regain control of the Salahuddien neighborhood of Aleppo, al-Watan daily said Thursday.
The paper said hundreds of armed insurgents have been killed and their hideouts in the troublesome district have also been knocked out.
It said the Army has worked over the past days on besieging the city of Aleppo completely and cutting the supply lines that have been opened from Turkey in order to prevent the escape of the armed groups outside the city.
The paper said that purging the Salahuddien district completely would probably take a few days, given the sprawling structure of the area and its very narrow alleys.
It said the Army is facing great challenges in Salahuddien due to the intense presence of snipers.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese NBN TV said that the so-called Free Syrian Army insurgents said they retreated from Salahuddien.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the neighborhoods of Salahuddien, Bab Hadidm al-Sha`ar, al-Sakhour, al- Sayyed Ali, al-Meyser and Qadi Askar are being heavily shelled by government forces, who are also using the heavy machine guns stationed on their helicopters to attack any gatherings in the Salahuddien neighborhood.
The Aleppo clashes have started two weeks ago when the armed rebels announced their battle to "liberate Aleppo."
Both the rebels and the government forces have seen the battles in Aleppo as fateful due to the importance of the province on the frontier with Turkey.