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Syrian rebs launch offensive

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian insurgent groups launched a fresh offensive Saturday seeking to break a government siege on rebel-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition activists and state media said.

The militants claimed they had achieved their goal while state media denied that the blockade has been breached. An unnamed military official told state news agency SANA that “large numbers’’ of militants had attacked the military college in southern Aleppo, adding that government forces were defending the sprawling base.

SANA said the militant offensive was preceded by a number of car bombs that struck the area. Shortly before sunset Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees said that militants were able to reach besieged areas.

The Observatory said that although the militants outside the city did reach rebel-held neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo, civilians still don’t have a safe route to leave because of intense airstrikes and shelling in the area.