Beirut (AFP) - Syrian rebels said Saturday they have broken a three-week government siege of second city Aleppo, turning the tables on Russian-backed regime forces who are now on the defensive.
To the northeast, a Western-backed alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters scored a major victory against the Islamic State group in the town of Manbij after a fierce two-month battle.
The developments have rocked the key northern province of Aleppo, a microcosm of Syria’s chaotic multi-front war that has killed more than 280,000 people.
Rebel and regime forces have fought for control of the provincial capital since mid-2012, transforming the former economic powerhouse into a divided, bombed-out city.
Opposition fighters, Islamists and jihadists have waged fierce assaults since July 31 to end the siege by government forces of some 250,000 people in Aleppo’s eastern districts.