For the first time since 2014, heavy clashes have now broken out inside Aleppo city itself. Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captured al-Mallah farms in the north while simultaneously cutting the rebel supply line to Al-Ramouseh Industrial District in the south.
Furthermore, breaking reports indicate that government troops are storming the western section of the Handarat housing, with skirmishes ongoing near the district’s Palestine Mosque and Zuhair Mohsen School. This attack has been launched from the nearby Quarries.
Now, rebels inside Aleppo city are inches from being completely encircled, thus preventing them from receiving vital supplies and ammunitions. This is due to fire control between al-Mallah farms and the YPG-held district of Sheikh Maqsoud.
Recently, Jabhat al-Nusra attempted to seize the Sheikh Maqsoud district from Kurdish fighters, while Jaish al-Islam reportedly used chemical gas in an attempt to capture the predominantly Kurdish suburb. However, the rebel forces were pushed back despite many casualties on both sides.
While the YPG in Aleppo city has mostly sided with rebels from 2012-2014, Kurdish troops now seem to favor the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as the latter has been gaining much ground in the Aleppo countryside since Russia began its air campaign in Syria some 6 months ago.
The offensive on the northern outskirts of Aleppo city is being lead by arguably Syria’s most prominent Major General, namely Suheil al-Hassan (nicknamed the Tiger).
This Syrian commander-in-chief has spearheaded four successive offensives with remarkable success; firstly at the al-Shair oil fields, secondly by breaking the ISIS-imposed siege on Kuweiris Airbase, thirdly by reopening the Aleppo supply line through Khanasser and most recently with the liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra.
With ISIS ever lurking on the eastern outskirts of the city, government troops are now looking to fully encircle rebel fighters inside Aleppo city itself. If they succeed in doing so, Syria’s largest city will likely experience the same fate as Homs did in late 2014, where local rebels surrendered after a prolonged government siege.