DAMASCUS, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Rebels in Syria's northern city of Aleppo unleashed multiple offensives against government-controlled areas in retaliation to the Syrian army attack on key rebel supply route there, a monitor group reported.
An array of jihadi groups waged attacks on four fronts against government-controlled districts in the western part of Aleppo on Monday, in response to the military severing of the only supply route the rebels use in northern Aleppo countryside, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UK-based watchdog group said the rebels also fired hundreds of mortar rounds on residential areas west of Aleppo, as part of their attack.
The Syrian army on Thursday effectively cut off the Castillo road, the last remaining supply line for the rebels between rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo, with rebel-controlled eastern district of Aleppo.
The al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and likeminded groups launched an offensive over the past two days to re-open Castillo, but their attack failed, with tens of them killed or wounded.
Meanwhile, state news agency SANA said at least eight people were killed Monday as a result of the intense rebel shelling, while the Observatory said a Syrian airstrike against a rebel-held area east of Aleppo killed 16 people.
Aleppo, strategically located near the borders with Turkey, is Syria's largest city and once an economic hub. It 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.
Military experts say the initial aim of the new Syrian army's battles in Aleppo is to lay a siege on the rebel-held areas and cut off their supply lines to force a surrender.
Another aim is to ensure the security of government-controlled areas and to prevent the militant groups from blocking the main road connecting Aleppo with the Syrian coast and other provinces in central and southern Syria.
Observers say the Syrian military campaign also aims to recapture areas in the northern and southern countryside of Aleppo in the face of Turkey's perceived attempts to establish a safe zone in northern Syria. Enditem