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article imageSyrian rebels claim they now control the west of Aleppo Province

By Paul Iddon     Jul 25, 2013 in World
Syrian opposition rebel forces claim they have virtual control over the western part of the country's northern province Aleppo.
Al Jazeera writes that following their seizure of the strategically significant town of Khan al-Assal, the last pro-regime town in the area, they declared their control over the Aleppo countryside.
In a video which they posted online rebel fighters claimed the following:
"We managed to liberate the western entry point to Aleppo. We achieved this victory against the Assad forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guards, along with some forces from Hezbollah. At this point, we can say that Khan al-Assal has been liberated entirely and is in our control, which means that Aleppo's countryside is in our control."
CBS News in their report on this development cites the UK-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the capture of Khan al-Assad was followed by a continuation of clashes near the village and in the city of Aleppo itself. The Syrian Air Force launched air strikes against districts there that are still under rebel control.
Khan al-Assal was also one of the few villages where it was claimed that chemical weapons were used and killed 31 people. As per usual the government blames the rebels for the use of these chemicals and the rebels blame the government in turn.
The Guardian points out that as the rebels achieved a rare victory in Khan al-Assal the Syrian Army killed at least 75 rebels in Damascus. This constituted one of the deadliest losses in a single day for the Syrian rebels.
To date it is estimated that up to 93,000 people have lost their lives as a result of this ongoing conflict.
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