While insurgent factions and ISIS are heavily embroiled in warfare back and forth in northern Aleppo, the Syrian Government and Russia have announced they will initiate a huge operation which aims to firstly encircle rebel-held districts inside Aleppo city and eventually recapture them, thus fully liberating Syria’s largest city.
Recently, Major General Suheil al-Hassan (also called ‘The Tiger’) was deployed to northern Aleppo. According to al-Masdar intel, he has been tasked to strike south of Handarat and reach the friendly Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsood and other government-held suburbs of the city.
If the prominent Syrian General carries out this manuever successfully, rebels inside Aleppo city will be completely blocked from receiving supplies from either Turkey or Idlib.
Currently, rebels only control one road that leads to Aleppo city; this road is flanked by two 10-feet tall dirt piles as to provide security for drivers who regularly supply rebels with ammunitions, new weapons and goods.
Suheil al-Hassan is the commander-in-chief of a very experienced contingent – the Tiger Forces. This Syrian Arab Army (SAA) unit is specialized exclusively in offensive warfare in difficult terrain.
Over the past year, the Tiger Forces have carried out many succesful offensives; firstly at the Homsi al-Shaer oil field, then at Kuweiris Airbase, then at Khanasser in southern Aleppo and most recently at Palmyra city itself.
Thereby, their deployment and simultaneous statements made by the Syrian Prime Minister yesterday hint at a huge upcoming offensive in and around Aleppo city. However, al-Masdar is not able to reveal when this operation is set to take place.
Nevertheless, the Tiger Forces and their allies face a considerable task in closing off the final gateway to Aleppo city. The area is littered with mines and rebel snipers, as insurgent commanders have long been aware of the Syrian Government’s plans for the province.