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Rebels' bid to reopen Aleppo supply line foiled


Rebels' bid to reopen Aleppo supply line foiled

The Castello Road was effectively cut-off by government forces on Thursday following fierce clashes [FILE: Reuters]

The Castello Road was effectively cut-off by government forces on Thursday following fierce clashes

Syrian regime forces have repelled a fierce assault by opposition fighters seeking to reopen their only supply route into Aleppo city, killing at least 29 rebels, a monitoring group said Sunday. 

The offensive sought to push government forces back from the Castello Road that leads into the opposition-held eastern half of Aleppo city, which is now effectively besieged by government troops. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 29 fighters from the Faylaq al-Sham rebel group and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front were killed in fighting or by mines laid by government troops. 

The UK-based Observatory group said there were also deaths among government troops, but had no immediate toll. 

"The attack has ended and the road remains completely closed," the group's chief, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

Aleppo has been divided between government and rebel control for several years

The Castello Road was effectively cut-off by government forces on Thursday when they seized a hilltop within range of the key supply line. By Saturday, regime soldiers were within 500m of the road and firing on any vehicle trying to use it. 

The Observatory said at least one car was targeted on the road early on Sunday, adding that it was unclear if it carried civilians or fighters. 

The regime also shelled the road later on Sunday, it said. On Friday, a man and his two sons were killed by regime forces on the road, the monitor said.

An AFP correspondent in eastern Aleppo said opposition factions were preventing civilians from using the route. Ongoing government artillery fire and barrel bomb attacks were reported in the east of the city early Sunday.