Yesterday morning, the coalition of Islamist factions “Ansar Al-Shari’ah” launched their full-scale offensive inside the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate, where their militants attacked the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces at the Al-Zahra Association Quarter, the Al-Khalidiyah and Al-Ashrafiyah Districts, and Nile Street.
Despite the intensity of the Islamist assault, the Syrian Arab Army – backed by the National Defense Forces – was able to repel the large contingent of fighters from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” at the Khalidiyah-Layramoun axis, the Air Force Intelligence building (Al-Zahra Association Quarter), Nile Street, and Al-Rusafah Street (north Al-Ashrafiyah) before nightfall on Thursday night.
The aftermath of the attack was devastating for the Ansar Al-Shari’ah factions, as they sent wave-after-wave of militants toward the dilapidated Air Force Intelligence building in the Al-Zahra Association Quarter, only for those combatants to run into a well-prepared and well-armed Syrian Arab Army contingent that was anticipating their attack.
As a result of yesterday’s clashes, the Ansar Al-Shari’ah factions lost an estimated 70 combatants (some estimates as high as 100), while the Syrian Armed Forces suffered 18 casualties from the battle with the aforementioned Islamist group.
These losses did not deter Ansar Al-Shari’yah from conducting another powerful assault at the western districts of Aleppo City; in fact, the assault inside the Al-Zahra Association Quarter was reportedly more violent on Friday than their previous attack the night before; this was confirmed by a Syrian military source, who reported the destruction of an armored vehicle mounted with a 14.5mm machine gun and as many as 40 enemy combatants killed during the battle.
However, the militants from Ansar Al-Shari’ah did make a strategic push into the well-fortified Scientific Research building in the New Aleppo District, capturing the western perimeter of the facility – firefights are still ongoing between the Syrian Armed Forces and Ansar Al-Shari’ah.
The Syrian Armed Forces did achieve some success from their counter-assault in the southern districts of Aleppo City: the Syrian Armed Forces have reportedly secured all of the Al-Salahiddeen District after fierce clashes with Jabhat Al-Nusra.
In addition to the fighting at the Al-Zahra Association District, firefights were also reported inside Al-Rashiddeen, Al-Khalidiyah, New Aleppo, and Al-Ashrafiyah on Friday.
North of Aleppo City, the Syrian Armed Forces conducted a powerful assault in the imperative town of Bureijj, where they destroyed a Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham weapons depot and an armored vehicle that was mounted with a 23mm anti-aircraft machine gun.
The Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) was busy on Friday, as the aforementioned struck a number of targets in Haleesa, Al-Jaboul, ‘Ayn Al-Hanish, Dayr Al-Hafir, Muskanah, Tal Alam, Tal Turikas, along with a number attacks on the Hareetan Highway, Al-Kastillo Road, and the Industrial Sector of the Al-Layramoun District.
More than 400 mortar shells have been fired by Ansar Al-Shari’ah into Aleppo city in the last 24 hours; these attacks have been reported by civilian sources.