Moments ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah and several Iraqi paramilitaries imposed full control over the village of Muarrasat al-Khan village in the countryside of northern Aleppo. While clashes are ongoing on the outskirts of the village, government troops have effectively broken an Islamist rebel siege on Nubl and al-Zahraa which had previously been upheld since the summer of 2012. Thus, more than 35.000 predominately Shiite civilians once again have land access to food from Aleppo city.
The offensive was aided by hundreds of Russian airstrikes which litterally blew regional Islamist defences to smithereens. Furthermore, dozens of highly motivated Shiite pro-government fighters jointly stormed Muarrasat al-Khan from both flanks of the village while government tanks and artillery provided covering fire. Due to the loss of Muarrat al-Khan, Islamist rebels inside Aleppo city have lost their most important supply line from Turkey that runs through Azaz further north.
Today’s events happen less than 3 months since government troops also broke the ISIS-imposed siege on Kuweiris Airbase in eastern Aleppo. Since October of 2015, the government has greatly expanded its territory on southern, eastern and northern countryside of Aleppo. However, the city of Aleppo – which is often reffered to as a ghost sniper city – has settled for a frontline stalemate over the past year.