Following the liberation of two villages in eastern Aleppo earlier in the day, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) proceeded to reopen a brand new flank in the area. Despite claims in ISIS outlets of jihadist militants imposing heavy casualties among government ranks, several units loyal to the SAA managed to push forward and seize the Hawwart Jabbul hill and fully secure the road which stretches vertically along the renown Jabbul Lake.
Remarkably, this stretch of land has been off limits to the Syrian Government since 2012; its capture will serve to improve logistic capabilities and subsequently stabilize the flow of goods pouring into the provincial capital of Aleppo from its relatively narrow supply route.
The offensive itself was led primarily by several contingents of the Republican Guard yet also supported by the Baqir Brigade (Syrian tribal unit) and Harakat al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary). Meanwhile, Russian jets provided supportive airstrikes throughout the day, thus propelling the government advance.
With the Islamic State gradually losing ground in Aleppo province, the pressure is increasingly mounting on its regional strongholds of Deir Hafer and Al-Bab. This evening, the latter city faced a new powerful assault from the Turkish Army and aligned Syrian rebel factions which have besieged ISIS fighters inside Al-Bab for several months to little avail.
With zero hour approaching and several hostile factions in the region, rumours suggest ISIS commanders are considering completely abandoning eastern Aleppo in order to conduct a tactical withdrawal towards Raqqa as the Islamic State reportedly lacks sufficient manpower to uphold their defensive lines.
In addition, an anonymous military source close to Al-Masdar News indicated further SAA advances were in the making as reconnaissance units continue to scout the terrain and challenge the endurance of ISIS’ fighters.