The Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – along with militants from the Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya) – has launched an offensive to take control of Handarat Farms (Mazra’a Al-Handarat) in northeast Aleppo.
Initially, Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies were able to take control of Tal Al-Madeefa; however, a late push by the National Defense Forces (NDF) on Saturday afternoon left the remaining area contested before nightfall.
According to a military source in Aleppo, at least 20 Jabhat Al-Nusra militants were killed on Saturday, including their field commander Alaa’ Abu Zayd; meanwhile, the NDF suffered 11 soldiers killed-in-action (KIA), with another 15 wounded.
North of Handarat, the militants of Jabhat Al-Nusra attempted to breach the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) frontline defenses at the town of Bashkoy; however, they were unsuccessful after sustaining a significant amount of casualties on the border of Hardatineen.
At the Poultry Farms near Khan Touman, the NDF and Kata’eb Al-Ba’ath (Ba’ath Battalions) continued their offensive to retake this strategic area located 4km from the Jabhat Al-Nusra controlled Regiment 46 Base.
On Saturday, the NDF and Kata’eb Al-Ba’ath advanced towards the western perimeter of the Poultry Farms after fierce clashes with Jabhat Al-Nusra and militants from the Islamic Front.
Jabhat Al-Nusra attempted to bypass the SAA’s defenses at the Air Force Intelligence building in the Al-Zahra Association Quarter, but their advance was forestalled by the soldiers entrenched near the AFI housing.
Eventually, the Jabhat Al-Nusra militants were driven back by the SAA soldiers at Al-Zahra, resulting in the former retreating to the area of the Great Prophet Mosque.