The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), spearheaded by the elite Tiger Forces, accomplished yet another noteworthy operational victory in its ongoing East Aleppo offensive which is aimed at isolating (and perhaps outright liberating) the strategic ISIS-held town of al-Bab.
On Friday, February 10, the the village of Abou Taltal was liberated by the SAA. Syria-based sources confirm that ISIS did in fact put up a fight for the village (being as close as it is to al-Bab, it was highly unlikely that ISIS was ever going abandon it) and that it took the Tiger Forces a full day of combat to liberate the area. Causalities are unknown.
The liberation of Abou Taltal now puts the SAA to within 2 kilometres distance of al-Bab’s southern gates. In terms of physical obstruction, only the small crossroads town of Tadef now stands between the southern pincer of the SAA’s advance and the town of al-Bab.
The victory at Abou Taltal also comes amid progress made in previous days – namely, the physical cutting on the Tadef road, which represented the last supply line to al-Bab for ISIS force.
Finally, the sealing of the front-line with Turkey-led militant forces and the Turkish Army proper to the east of al-Bab is inescapable if al-Bab is to be isolated prior to being stormed. Considering that clashes between the SAA and Turkey-led insurgents of the Euphrates Shield operation occurred on February 9, in the area of Abou Zenden (west of al-Bab), careful attention should be paid to how these factions (SAA and Euphrates Shield forces) will behave when they share an even larger front after al-Bab’s encirclement.