Rebel fighters advance in Syria’s Aleppo

Several factions pushed into government-held Khaldiyeh neighbourhood, sources say, but state TV denies claim.

Aleppo map, Syria

Syrian rebels have advanced into a second government-held neighbourhood in the northern city of Aleppo, activists have said, a claim denied by state TV.

The reported push into the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood came on Thursday, a day after rebels captured the eastern neighbourhood of Rashideen from troops and pro-government gunmen.

Ahmad al-Ahmad and Bahaa Halaby, Aleppo-based activists, said several factions entered Khaldiyeh, which has a large Kurdish community, early on Thursday.

State TV denied the claims of the take over and aired a report from Khaldiyeh. It had earlier denied the capture of Rashideen without providing any proof.

State TV and the activists said Rashideen was relatively quiet on Wednesday afternoon after heavy fighting overnight.

Ahmad and Halaby said a fuel shortage in Aleppo and nearby villages has worsened in recent days after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which controls much of Syria’s oilfields, prevented tanker trucks from supplying rebel-held neighbourhoods.

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ISIL has battled both government forces and the rebels, but in Aleppo the rebels say it is effectively helping the government by attacking their supply lines.

Ahmad said the fuel shortages have driven up bread prices and caused power cuts in hospitals relying on generators.

“There is a humanitarian crisis. Some bakeries have closed and fewer vehicles are on the streets,” Ahmad said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday that some 40,000 people are in “urgent need of basic services including water and electricity” in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh.

The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent managed to enter Moadamiyeh this week to deliver aid for the first time since December, the statement said.

“The humanitarian situation is desperate,” said the head of the ICRC in Syria, Marianne Gasser. “The streets are totally empty, shops closed. There is virtually no water and food is hard to come by. There has not been electricity in the city for two years. There is virtually no access to proper healthcare.”

The ICRC and SARC brought in medicines for chronic diseases to treat around 5,000 patients, medicines for children, and medical equipment to help pregnant women during delivery.

Source: AP, Reuters