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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Opposition Groups Say Rebels Break Aleppo Siege

by VOA News August 06, 2016

Two Syrian opposition groups said Saturday that rebels have broken the government siege of the northern city of Aleppo after fierce fighting since July 31.

"Rebels break Aleppo's siege," wrote the Istanbul-based National Coalition on Twitter.

The powerful ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group said on Twitter that rebels had seized control of Ramousah on the southwestern edges of the city and "opened the route to Aleppo."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the siege had not been broken but that fighting was very intense in Ramousah.

Syrian insurgent groups launched a fresh offensive Saturday to try to break a government siege on rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo, triggering intense clashes and airstrikes on the southern edge of Syria's second largest city, the rebels and state media said Saturday.

Earlier reports Saturday said that a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters had taken "almost complete control" of the strategic northern Syrian city of Manbij that was a stronghold of the Islamic State group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF - which includes Arab and Kurdish fighters - seized the city and were "combing the city in search of the last remaining jihadists."

The SDF, backed by airstrikes from U.S. special forces, launched its campaign to take Manbij two months ago with the goal of ousting Islamic State militants from a last stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Mustafa Bali, a Syria-based Kurdish activist, told The Associated Press Saturday "it's just a matter of time" before the fighters have complete control of the city.

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