Russia says al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front militants have deployed chemical weapons near Aleppo as a ceasefire declared by the government in the battle against Takfiri terrorists expired.
The Defense Ministry in Moscow said scores of militants have also arrived from Turkey in the outskirts of Syria's second city to fight back a government offensive in the region.
“According to reports by local residents, more than 100 Nusra Front terrorists have arrived in the village of Kafr Hamrah,” the ministry said.
Several trucks "carrying self-made ammunition armed with chlorine-based toxic agents" have arrived from the Idlib province in the northern outskirts of Aleppo controlled by Nusra Front terrorists, it added.
On Thursday, government forces seized positions from Takfiri militants fighting north of Aleppo as the ceasefire expired, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The fighting was focused around the Handarat area which is important because it is near the last route into militant-held areas of Aleppo.
The 48-hour truce in the city of Aleppo announced by the Syrian military on Monday ended at 1 a.m. (2200 GMT).
'Nusra terrorists capture Alawite village'
Takfiri terrorists, however, overran an Alawite village in western Syria on Thursday and abducted civilians living there, the observatory said.
The terrorist groups that attacked al-Zara about 35 km (22 miles) north of the city of Homs included Nusra Front, it added.
'US, Saudi, Turkish generals in Khan Tuman'
In Tehran, a senior official said Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had recently supplied Takfiri militants with weapons and food to retake the Syrian village of Khan Tuman in Aleppo during the ceasefire.
Writing on his Instagram account on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei said Takfiri terrorists had received “weapons, ammunition, money and food from Turkey’s southern borders and its Iskenderun port.”
“In addition, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing aid to terrorists through the sea,” said Rezaei, who is the former chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
According to the Iranian official, several US, Saudi and Turkish generals "specializing in special warfare" have recently joined Tafkiri terrorists and "directed the operation in Khan Tuman."
"Aleppo has now become a matter of prestige for Saudi Arabia and Turkey; hence, they are intervening there with full force. Aleppo, in fact, is the ultimate showdown between the resistance and invaders," Rezaei said.
"The Syrian army is resisting only with the help of Iranian advisers," he said, adding Russia had mostly withdrawn its forces after a six-month stint.
"However, the Almighty God supports the oppressed and the Syrian nation and government and the resistance front is the ultimate winner."
Takfiri militants took control of Khan Tuman on May 6, shortly before a 48-hour truce in Aleppo was due to expire.
The town has changed hands between Syrian army soldiers, Daesh Takfiri terrorists and foreign-sponsored militants over the past few months. Syrian soldiers had wrested control over Khan Tuman last December.
Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are the Takfiri groups which assist Nusra Front and Daesh in the Aleppo battle.
On Tuesday, the US, Britain, France, and Ukraine blocked a Russian bid to add Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham to a UN blacklist of terrorist groups and sideline them from the Syria peace process.
The US mission to the UN said Russia’s proposal would undermine attempts to get a sustained halt in the fighting in Syria.
Jaysh al-Islam is part of Riyadh-based Syria opposition group, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). Ahrar al-Sham also took part in the latest round of Syria peace talks.
Moscow said on Tuesday that the 17-nation International Syria Support Group (ISSG) would meet in Vienna, Austria, on May 17 to try to get peace efforts back on track.
A truce, brokered by Russia and the United States, went into effect late February in a bid to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the conflict.
However, top negotiators from Saudi-linked opposition group HNC quit the talks, citing what they claimed to be the Syrian government’s violation of the truce.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.