It has been a hectic 48 hours in northern Aleppo, with both the Islamist rebels and the government forces trading blows near the strategic Hariteen Highway that stretches as far north as the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
On Thursday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division – backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF), Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary), Kata’eb Hezbollah (Iraqi paramilitary), Liwaa Al-Badr (Iraqi paramilitary), and Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-‘Abbas (Iraqi paramilitary) – imposed full control over the village of Mayer after a brief battle with the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group), Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen, and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.
Following the capture of Mayer, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies turned their attention to the small village of Kafr Naya, where they were involved in a long battle with Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen that stretched from the morning to late afternoon.
Despite several reports of its capture, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies were only able to impose fire control over the village; this was later changed to “contested” after Islamist rebels occupied small portion of Kafr Naya.
While that battle was taking place near the town of Al-Zahra’a, the Islamist rebels launched their own counter-assault to retake the territory they lost at the village of Rityan, which is located on the strategic hilltop of Tal Hardatineen.
The Islamists were able to seize several buildings from the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies inside of Rityan; however, they were unable to seize the entire village after several attempts.
According to a military source in northern Aleppo, firefights are still ongoing inside of Rityan, as the Islamist rebels continue their onslaught.