Syrian Army captures key rebel stronghold

Damascus:Syrian government troops and allied fighters on Thursday recaptured Bani Zaid in Aleppo city from the rebels. Bani Zaid was once a staging ground for rebel attacks on government-held Aleppo, Xinhua news agency reported. In July, over 70 persons were killed in Aleppo in rebel shelling from Bani Zaid. Over the past week, the Syrian Army effectively cut off the Castello road, the last rebel supply route connecting rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo with the eastern districts. On Wednesday, military helicopters dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on Aleppo, urging the rebels to surrender and the civilians to cooperate with the Syrian Army. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared an amnesty on Thursday, offering pardon for rebels who surrender within three months and kidnappers who release their victims within a month. Aleppo, located near the borders with Turkey, has been a focal point of clashes between the Syrian Army and the rebels.