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Albin Szakola

Aleppo will be secured
“very soon”: regime figure

Major General Zaid Saleh, a top Syrian military official responsible for operations in Aleppo, claimed that the regime has "sufficient" forces to retake the war-torn city.

Major General Zaid Saleh. (Image via Enab Baladi)

BEIRUT – A top Syrian regime military official responsible for operations in Aleppo has vowed that the divided city will be retaken “very soon,” amid renewed violence following the breakdown of a US-Russian brokered cessation-of-hostilities.

 

“The [pro-regime] forces [deployed in the area] are sufficient to recover the entire city of Aleppo,” Major General Zaid Saleh, the head of the government’s security and military committee for Syria’s second city, boasted during a meeting Wednesday of the Aleppo branch of the ruling Baath Party.

 

Saleh added during his speech at the gathering that the regime “will not allow for the prolonging of the time” needed to pacify Aleppo, claiming that the city will be retaken “first through reconciliation”—a reference to negotiated evacuations of rebel-held neighborhoods—and “second through a military solution.”

 

“Very soon the city of Aleppo will be safe,” he declared.

 

Saleh was appointed to his current post in early August 2016, after serving as the chief-of-staff of the Republican Guard, the elite mechanized division tasked with protecting the country's leadership.

 

He also commanded Republican Guard troops during the regime’s summer 2016 campaign in the northern outskirts of Aleppo which cut of the rebels’ supply line leading into the eastern half of the city via the Castello road.

 

Baath Party

Major General Zaid Saleh and other top regime officials at the Baath Party's gathering. (Facebook/Baath Party-Aleppo Branch)

 

The meeting of the Baath Party’s Aleppo branch on Wednesday focused on strategies to enact a policy of “national reconciliation” aimed at inducing rebels holed up in Aleppo to abandon their positions.

 

Opposition forces in other parts of the country—including Homs and the Damascus suburbs—have reached truce deals with the regime following long sieges that have seen the rebels and their families bused from their homes as part of a regime policy activists call “demographic cleaning.”

 

According to a statement issued by the Baath Party’s Aleppo branch, the recent meeting agreed on three measures, including securing safe exits for Aleppo civilians and militants who wish to leave their neighborhoods and “don’t want reconciliation with the government.”

 

“If the militants refuse to leave their areas, the only solution will be a military one,” the final point agreed upon by the participants declared. 

 

NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language material. 

Major General Zaid Saleh. (Image via Enab Baladi)

If the militants refuse to leave their areas, the only solution will be a military one.