Damascus: A suicide bomber killed 25 government troops when he blew himself up near a military position in the key Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitor group reported on Tuesday. A suicide bomber with the Al Qaeda-linked militants blew himself up on Monday evening near an orphanage where government troops were stationed, in the Jamiyet al-Zahra neighbourhood, killing 25 Syrian soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. The overnight bombing was followed by intense battles on Tuesday in the western part of the city between an array of jihadi groups and the Syrian forces in the sprawling compound of the Scientific Research Institute and the nearby district of Jamiyet al-Zahra.
Last week, a total of 13 rebel groups, mainly the Nusra Front and other jihadi groups, declared the formation of a joint operations room to lead a large-scale offensive against government-controlled areas in western Aleppo and its countryside in the hope of driving out the government forces from the entire province. The Britain-based watchdog group said the Syrian army, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah, launched an offensive early Tuesday against the rebels in the Scientific Research Institute area amid aerial bombardment and shelling against the rebels, who succeeded in storming the facility earlier this week. Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once an economic hub, has been carved out between the rebels in the eastern part of the city and the Syrian troops in the west. The rebels made repeated attempts to storm government areas in the hope of seizing control of the entire city of Aleppo, but have met with little success.