With offensives across multiple fronts being launched against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) since the beginning of 2017, all with mixed rates of success so far for the latter, it can be said that the advance in the eastern Aleppo countryside continues to bring some of the most progressive results.
As of the Thursday the 26th of January, the strategic town of al-Maduonah has been liberated by the SAA’s elite Tiger Forces. The town commands two principal roads leading to the city of al-Bab: this is the M4 main highway and the N212 secondary motorway.
Control over the M4 and N212 are essential for any northbound push on al-Bab whether it be soon or later on in the future. At this time the true direction and scope of the SAA’s offensive in the eastern Aleppo countryside is not yet known. For example, it had originally been thought that Deir Hafer – much further to the southeast than the current area of operations – was going to be the target of the SAA offensive in eastern Aleppo and thus far this has proven not to be the case at all.
All that can be said is that if the SAA continues operations in the direction of al-Bab, then very few urban obstacles remain along the M4/ N212 axis, as virtually no other road-controlling town stands between the city and the now liberated al-Maduonah.