Rebels edging toward west Aleppo

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The Aleppo Victory Army joint operations room announced that rebels had taken full control of the a-Rashideen district in Aleppo city Wednesday, the opening salvo in a campaign to capture predominantly regime-controlled western Aleppo, a local journalist told Syria Direct Thursday. A-Rashideen “is among the entryways into west Aleppo,” a member of the pro-opposition Media Office in Aleppo who requested anonymity told Syria Direct. “We are now at the walls of the al-Buhuth al-Ilmiya [military barracks] that is located between A-Rashideen and New Aleppo, where violent clashes are ongoing amidst an attempt to storm the complex,” Abu Basheer Maara, a commander with the Nur a-Din a-Zinki militia, was quoted by All4Syria as saying Wednesday. Pro-opposition media confirmed the report of rebel control over a-Rashideen Wednesday [see All4Syria here, AksalSer here]. “A source in Aleppo province denied what is being disseminated by the media about the shedding of Syrian blood, that terrorist takfiri organizations took control of the a-Rashideen neighborhood,” reported state-owned news agency SANA Wednesday night.