Damascus: Rebels in the northern city of Aleppo detonated a tunnel under a police station on Thursday, killing an undisclosed number of government officers, activists and local media said. The blast destroyed parts of the building of the police station in the al-Hal area in old Aleppo quarter, said Sham FM radio.
Following the blast, the rebels attempted an assault on government troops’ positions in al-Hal marketplace area, a military source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. He said government forces managed to repel the offensive. Some media reports said five officers were killed in the tunnel blast.
The explosion was coupled with intense rebel shelling on government-controlled areas in Aleppo, particularly the famous Saad Allah Al-Jabiry Square, where four people were said to have been killed on Thursday.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once an economic hub, has recently witnessed intensified fighting between an array of jihadi groups and the Syrian army.
On July 17, government troops fully severed the last supply route connecting rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo and those areas inside the eastern part of the city. Aleppo, located near the borders with Turkey, has been a focal point of clashes between the Syrian army and the rebels.
In the summer of 2012, thousands of armed militants stormed residential districts of Aleppo from its countryside, striking the economic nerves of the Syrian government, which has repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting the rebels for undeclared interests in Aleppo.
The rebels captured several districts in eastern Aleppo city and tried repeatedly to expand their presence to government-controlled areas in the west.
The rebels laid siege to western Aleppo districts after cutting the international road to Aleppo in 2014, a siege broken later by the Syrian army, with the help of Hezbollah.