About one hour ago, rebel groups loyal to the Jaish al-Fateh coalition seized both Khan Touman storage areas along with the adjacent village of Khirbat Mirata. Moreover, the village of Al-Qarassi has been captured by rebel forces moments ago.
These sites are located in the rural countryside of Aleppo, southwest of the provincial capital.
The offensive began at noon today as an overwhelming number of Islamist fighters – backed by a handful of armored vehicles – attacked eastwards of Khan Touman town towards an area mostly defended by Iranian pro-government paramilitary fighters who were unable to offer much resistance and subsequently retreated from their positions.
Meanwhile, a major rebel assault is underway towards the villages of Qal’ajiyah and al-Humayra (south of Khan Touman) as we speak.
The latest reports suggest these villages are still controlled by government troops, but they could easily fall later today as the situation has turned critical.
The insurgent offensive is led by Failaq al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party, Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund al-Aqsa; the latter two Islamist groups are affiliated with al-Qaeda.
With the government frontline collapsing in southern Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies must regroup quickly if they are to avoid further losses, while also rethinking previous military plans. Furthermore, reinforcements are required.
Both Russian and Syrian airstrikes have been conducted during the afternoon; however, they have been unable to stop the rapid rebel advances.