With recent government advances at the Salaheddine District (southern Aleppo suburb) and the al-Mallah farm area (north of Aleppo), the Syrian Armed Forces have now begun new operations which aim to fully besiege all rebel-held districts inside Aleppo city.
However, Aleppo’s rebel forces are expected to put up stubborn resistance against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as the latter is increasingly targeting the rebel supply line to Aleppo city.
If this road is breached by government troops, it will put tremendous pressure upon local insurgents inside Syria’s largest city.
Nevertheless, advances from house-to-house inside Aleppo city are extremely difficult due to the implications of urban warfare. Basically, experienced snipers are lurking at each street corner ready to take down their next targets.
Furthermore, the entire area north of Aleppo is littered with mines and booby traps, thereby complicating advances either way.
Strategically, one must not rule out the possibility of a government offensive being launched from the far western Tamurah high point, possibly even with the aid of Kurdish forces.
Nevertheless, such a manuever would entail marching across hostile territory held and fortified by rebels ever since the summer of 2012.
Currently, Kurdish militias seem to favor the Syrian Government due to their heavy and ongoing clashes with various Islamist rebel factions in the northern Aleppo countryside and YPG-held district of Sheikh Maqsood.
The latter predominately Kurdish populated suburb is likely to play a huge role in the battle of Aleppo as it lies within striking distance of the rebel supply road to the provincial capital.
On the other hand, if rebel diplomats and negotiators are somehow able to convince the Kurds to side with the Syrian Opposition, this will turn the tables on government forces.
However, such conciliatory events are far from likely as rebel shells containing sarin gas reportedly struck Sheikh Maqsood just last week.
Meanwhile, if local SAA commanders can convince the Kurdish YPG and SDF militias to join the government in an offensive against rebels, this would likely spell the inevitably rebel loss of Aleppo city and moreover – a devastating blow to the Syrian Opposition.