Reuters reported Wednesday that a senior official in the pro-Damascus military alliance said that Syria, along with their allies, are planning to drive out the rebels and completely seize the city of Aleppo before President-elect Trump takes office in January. The pro-government forces have seen their largest victories in the city of Aleppo since the civil war began, and have taken back control of more than a third of the territory that had been held by the rebels. The official said that the next haul of the fight would be more difficult as the next phase of retaking the city involves much more densely populated areas.
The Russian and Iranian militaries have supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s efforts to defeat the government rebels in the city of Aleppo. The civil war began about six years ago after dissenters rose up to protest Assad’s rule, imploring him to fight back against the rebellion which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds and thousands of civilians.
“The Russians want to complete the operation before Trump takes power,” the official said. The official repeated that the timeline was made in order to lessen the risk of U.S. policy towards to war to shift, altering the current actions of the pro-Damascus forces.
Over the weekend, Syrian state media reported that government forces had recaptured Masaken Hanano, the largest held rebel district in the city. The rebels first took Masaken Hanano during the summer of 2012 which led to the divide between West and East Aleppo, where the eastern portion was held entirely by the insurgents.
The United States under President Obama has offered backing to the rebel forces in Syria along with Turkey, Saudia Arabia, and Qatar. President-elect Donald Trump has stated that he may end the military support to the rebels.
A rebel official told Reuters that the Obama Administration was not focused on Syria which allowed Assad and his allies, such as Iran and Hezbollah, to “exploit the current circumstances.”