This week has proven to be critical for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defenses Forces (NDF) as their recent gains near the Al-Jandoul Roundabout have tightened the noose around the Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya) militants holed-up in the Al-Oweeja and Hanano Districts. The SAA’s capture of Al-Manasheer, the Al-Bureijj Stone Quarries, and the Wood Factory in the Industrial District near the Al-Jandoul Roundabout all took place this week in northeast Aleppo.
The SAA and NDF are now in position to begin their encirclement of the strategic Hanano District; its imminent capture will pay dividends for the SAA’s soldiers entrenched in the northern sector of the Handarat District, as it will eventually pave the way to the ‘Anadan District.
On Friday night, the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra) launched a wave of attacks on the predominately Shi’i populated villages of Al-Zahra and Nubl, renewing their siege of these imperative Syrian Government controlled areas. The attack began when Al-Nusra Front militants attempted to breakthrough Hezbollah and NDF defenses on the southeast perimeter of Al-Zahra; however, minutes after their assault, they were repelled after sustaining significant casualties.
According to an NDF source, firefights are still ongoing, but the Al-Nusra Front has been forestalled and pushed back towards Bayanoun. If the Al-Nusra Front can capture these 2 villages, they can strengthen their positions around the vital ‘Anadan District. Al-Zahra and Nubl are also key to the Al-Nusra Front and Islamic Front fighters in ‘Anadan because if the SAA can reach this district from the west; it could result in a flank from the east and west.