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Operation to liberate Aleppo may be over by mid-January, says Lebanese expert

The Syrian Army's "offensive on the eastern districts of the city has drowned the plans of those who oppose the regime in Damascus," Amin Hoteit said

BEIRUT, November 8. /TASS/. The Syrian Armed Forces will most likely round up the operation to liberate Aleppo from militants before the inauguration of the next US president, Lebanese military expert and analyst Amin Hoteit, a former Brigadier General of the Lebanese Army, told TASS on Monday.

Hoteit, one of the leading Arab military experts, believes the Syrian government forces will need less than three months to clear the eastern district of Aleppo of armed groupings.

"When looked from the outside, the situation is developing in zigzags now, as the troops deliver one defeat after another to the enemy and then declare humanitarian pauses for giving assistance to civilians, whom the militants have locked in the eastern districts," he said.

"These lulls in fighting don’t change the general tendencies, however, as the morale of the militant units has been undermined, and the inevitability of their capitulation is only too obvious," Hoteit said.

For this reason, the suspension of airstrikes by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces near Aleppo "may be giving the militants some chance but doesn’t boost their capability for defense."

Hoteit, who has earned esteem in the Arab and Western media with his highly balanced assessments and comments, says that the Syrian government forces’ victory in the battle for the northern capital will cement the country’s unity.

"The Army’s offensive on the eastern districts of the city has drowned the plans of those who oppose the regime in Damascus and, in the first place, the plans of Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split the Syrian state," he said.

He believes that the projects to impose the rule of Ihwans, the Syrian analogues of the Muslim Brotherhood, who drawn on support from Ankara, or militant Wahhabis who receive assistance from Riyadh, have been consigned to history now.

Nor have the Washington-based strategists managed to implement their plans in Syria. "The US set for itself an objective to occupy split Syria and to set up a buffer state from Aleppo to Mosul back in 2003 when it occupied Iraq," Hoteit said. According to him, this state would serve as a counterweight to theTeheran-Baghdad-Damascus axis.

To attain their objectives, the US secret service purposefully fanned tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the region, Hoteit said. He recalled that, at a critical moment, Iranians and Hezbollah fighters threw in their shoulder to help the Syrian government in 2012.

The expert said that while in Iraq, the Americans used their secret army, the Islamic State(IS) terrorist grouping (banned in Russia), to carry out their plans for splitting up the state, the IS strivings unexpectedly bumped into Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Forces, whose highly efficacious actions made it possible to encircle Mosul.

The US skillfully made a ploy of the Islamic factor in both Syrian and Iraqi developments as a cover-up for attempts to redraw the map of the Middle East, Hoteit said.

"In reality, 90% of the militants flocking in Syria from around the world have no idea they are little more than cannon fodder for the implementation of the Americans’ designs," he said.