The Syrian army has said that recent advances against the self-proclaimed Islamic State northeast of Aleppo are a starting point for further operations against the extremist group.
The price is evident from the destruction of the northern city – its historical and commercial core now in ruins. The UN estimates it represents almost 15 percent of total damage in the six-year war.
The army’s general command has said it recently recaptured more than 30 towns and farms in the advance towards al-Bab. It’s brought government forces close to areas where Turkish-backed fighters are battling ISIL separately.
Videos released on the internet purport to show some of those rebels in operations against the militants near al-Bab earlier this week.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has called upon the world to show solidarity with displaced Syrians and focus on the peace process.
The head of the UN refugee agency was visiting the Jibreen shelter on the outskirts of Aleppo.
“When you see this destruction you really understand what being a refugee mean and why it is so important to show solidarity and not rejection, to provide them with asylum when possible and not push them back across borders,” Grandi said.
The Jibreen shelter houses five thousand people displaced from their homes, many of them women and children.
The Syrian army recaptured eastern Aleppo last month after a deal was struck to evacuate rebels to Idlib.