BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:35 P.M.) – A large force comprised of mostly Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers arrived in the southern countryside of Aleppo this morning after a long deployment inside the eastern neighborhoods of the provincial capital.
These soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard are expected to take part in the upcoming southern Aleppo offensive that will include allied forces from Hezbollah, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).
What sets southern Aleppo apart from the northern countryside is its large presence of jihadist rebels that are not included in the nationwide ceasefire deal setup by the Russian and Turkish governments.
The entire Aleppo-Idlib border is filled with jihadist rebels from Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), making this operation permissible for the Syrian Arab Army and their allies.
The primary target for the Syrian Arab Army during this offensive will be the villages located along the Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway).
If they are successful, the Syrian Arab Army will be able to make their first major push into the Idlib Governorate since their expulsion from the provincial capital in late April 2015.