Displaced people from fighting in the western part of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo say there have been looting from militias loyal to the Syrian regime, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said today.
In a statement, the NGO said that the displaced people who returned home after the pro-government militias had expelled the rebels from their neighborhoods reported that housing had been stolen by militias loyal to the regime.
On Saturday, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were able to recover all the areas the rebels had occupied for weeks.
The inhabitants of these neighborhoods told the OSDH volunteers that when they returned empty houses and blamed the members of the National Defense Committees, a militia that fights with the Syrian troops against the rebels.
According to the OSDH, civilians also accused militiamen of forcing civilians to pay them money at checkpoints when they move between the city of Aleppo and areas of the north of the homonymous province controlled by the Syrian government or on trips outside those areas.
The OSDH says several civilians have said that on the walls near the front lines (in the Aleppo province), militiamen forbid them from leaving with the objects of their homes.
Syrian forces were able to regain control of all areas of the city of Aleppo, which were withdrawn by the rebels in a two-week offensive, retaking control of Dahie al-Asad, Al Sura and Al Sater control posts, Menyan area and a card factory in the southwest of the city.
A military source quoted by SANA explained that Army units re-established “security” at Dahie al Asad and also advanced in the Al Makateb area, causing “losses to the terrorists” and destroying part of their vehicles and armament.
In this way, the Army has extended “the circle of security” around western neighborhoods – in the hands of the target authorities in the last weeks of the rebel bombings, the source said.
These victories, coupled with the recovery a few days ago from the Project 1070 zone and the Al Hekma school area, also in the southwest, represent the return of the Army to the same limits it held prior to the launch by the rebels of the offensive ‘Great Epic of Aleppo ‘, Initiated on October 28 last.
According to the OSDH, Syrian regime forces also recovered in the current counter-attack areas whose control they had lost last August on the outskirts of the city.
In these two weeks of fighting and aerial and artillery shelling, at least 454 people were killed, including 215 rebels, 143 pro-government soldiers and militiamen and 90 civilians, including 29 minors, the OSDH said.
Aleppo is disputed by Damascus forces and rebels since mid-2012, when they conquered large areas of the city, Syria’s second largest and one of the worst hit by the conflict that began in March 2011.
The situation is especially critical in eastern neighborhoods besieged by the regime since last July and where the UN has warned last week that there is no longer enough food to deliver to civilians in need.