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Opposition groups launch strike to break the siege on Aleppo

“Today is supposed to be the launch of the battle,” Malahifji said

Syrian opposition groups launched Grad rockets at Aleppo's Nairab air base today as part of their preparations for a new offensive aimed at breaking the government siege of opposition-held areas of the city, an opposition official and a monitoring group said.

Zakaria Malahifji, an official with the Fastaqim opposition group present in Aleppo, said a number of armed factions would participate in the new offensive and that the bombardment of the air base was part of this.

"Today is supposed to be the launch of the battle," Malahifji said. "All the rebel groups will participate."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a British-based monitoring group, said that Grad surface-to-surface rockets struck the Nairab air base and also locations around the Hmeimim air base near Latakia.

Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year, pits President Bashar Al-Assad, backed by Russia, Iran and Shia militias from Iraq and Lebanon, against mostly Sunni opposition groups including those supported by Turkey, Arab Gulf states and the United States.

Aleppo, Syria's most populous city before the war, has for years been split between a government-held western sector and the oppposition-held east, which the army and its allies managed to besiege this summer.

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