Russia: There Are No Plans to Retake Aleppo City

Moscow contradicts regime statements regarding plans to recapture rebel-held Aleppo city from thousands of Nusra Front fighters

Russia’s General Staff of the armed forces has declared that there are no plans to storm the city of Aleppo, contradicting comments by the Syrian prime minister, who said previously that regime and Russian forces were preparing for a huge joint operation to retake Aleppo.

Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff, claimed on Monday that about 9,500 Nusra Front fighters had gathered at the south-west and to the north of Aleppo, and were planning a large scale attack to cut the city off from the capital Damascus.

He added that all actions of the regime forces and the Russian air forces are “directed at disrupting the plans of Nusra Front. No storming of the city of Aleppo is planned."

Fighting has broken out between Syrian opposition forces and regime forces around Aleppo in the last few weeks, threatening the shaky ceasefire agreement ahead of a new round of peace talks in Geneva this week.

Opposition forces have controlled half of the city for a number of years, and regime and loyalist media spoke of a large mobilization of Syrian army forces and allied militias amassing around Aleppo on Monday, while the pro-regime al-Mayadeen channel said it had seen tanks and rocket launchers heading toward the city.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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