The Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group), the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and Jabhat Al-Shamiyah have worn out their welcome inside the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate after a week of firing indiscriminate rockets and mortar shells into the government controlled districts of Al-Suleimaniyeh, Al-Midan, New Aleppo, Old Aleppo, Moukambo, Al-Khalidiyah, and Al-‘Aziziyah.
According to a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), a large number of soldiers that were participating in the northern Aleppo offensive have been transferred to the provincial capital in order to prepare for a major military operation to capture the strategic Layramoun District that is located to the northwest of Al-Khalidiyah and directly north of the Al-Zahra’a Association Quarter.
The purpose of this military operation is to wedge the Islamist rebels inside the large towns of Haritan, Hayyan, and ‘Anadan in order to eventually encircle and besiege these areas near the provincial capital.
With the Aleppo-Gaziantep Highway cutoff and the predominately Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) on the verge of seizing both Tal Rifa’at and ‘Azaz in northern Aleppo, the government forces can use this opportunity to advance in the provincial capital’s northwestern countryside.
Aleppo City has long been a Syrian government stronghold, with only a select number of neighborhoods (Sakhour, Kafr Hamra, Hanano) harboring anti-government sentiments.
This pro-government sentiment has made capturing Aleppo City a very difficult military endeavor for the Islamist rebels; and as a result, this battle has proven to be the turning point of this war.