Syrian government forces made significant advances on Sunday in the country’s northwestern Aleppo province, retaking most of the rebel-held region, Reuters reports.
“In day one, they took an area where for eight years they could not take a single village,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
“There is very rapid advance by the Syrian forces in this area,” Abdulrahman said.
“The factions have withdrawn from most of the area,” he added. The Observatory said Syrian forces had seized 13 towns and villages in the area.
The advances come after Assad’s forces drove insurgents from the key M5 highway linking Aleppo to Damascus, and reopened the fastest route between Syria’s two biggest cities for the first time in years, in a major strategic accomplishment for Assad.