Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, (Iraqi paramilitary) and Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary) – launched a preliminary offensive inside the Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside in order to secure the farms around the imperative villages of Duwayr Al-Zeitoun and Bashkoy.

According to a battlefield correspondent on the ground in the Aleppo Governorate, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and their allies struck the Islamist rebel defenses at the Afghan axis in western Bashkoy, along with several farms surrounding the village of Duwayr Al-Zeitoun.

The battlefield correspondent added that the fighting has intensified between the Syrian Armed Forces and the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen at the Afghan axis; this site has been contested by both parties on numerous occasions, with the opposition groups seizing this point last time.

So far, there have been no reported gains made by the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies; however, any advance in northern Aleppo will be costly because of the large presence of Islamist rebel combatants along the Hariteen Highway that stretches to their main supply route in the city of Gaziantep, Turkey.

If the Syrian Armed Forces were to advance along this front, they could ultimately lift the 3 year long siege imposed by the Islamist rebels on the towns of Zahra’a and Nubl.