Some points to consider on Western Aleppo:
- The terrorists have been able to counter attack, though the intensity has been very much below the major offensive 3 weeks ago, which may indicate that the non stop air attacks by SAAF and RuAF are taking a severe toll on the many terrorists factions in this battlefield.
- The open corridor was never used to transport large convoys into eastern Aleppo. It was under constant bombing although a very few vehicles and goods may have crossed.
- The constant air attacks on the terrorists’ supply lines have been effective, reducing their reinforcement, lowering their morale and destroying vital ammo depots all over Idlib Province.
The massive allied forces gathering in the past 3 weeks, the probing attacks as well as the recent flanking positioning (1070 apartment complex and Umm Al-Qara`/SyriaTel hills), are strong indications that a major offensive is brewing. It is usually expected that to prep for a major offensive, air attacks will increase in frequency and magnitude, such that this may be a clear indication for the timing of this new development.
Hasaka: The situation in al Hasaka city continues to be very volatile, now in its 4th day. Some important factors to be considered as the fight inside the town continues in anticipation of a peaceful solution:
- It is getting more obvious, as time passes, that this provocation has direct links to the Turkish-US struggle related to the supposed coup attempt against the Turkish regime. The timing of it, right after the Turkish-Iranian high level meeting and the joint declaration on the main steps toward a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria, has most likely sparked NATO to push the Asayish, PYD military police, to provoke a conflict in Al-Hasaka.
- It seems a possible alignment between Russia-Syria-Iran-Turkey will clearly be in conflict with NATO’s invasion in northern Syria and the use of locals to promote their objectives.
- Syrian Government reaction was swift, both with the directives to the NDF organization to fight back but with the support of SAAF that shifted the initial balance of the attacks.
- There is no clear indication on the ground that large SDF/YPG or even SAA forces are fighting at the moment; both organizations are, so far, using artillery fire to support the fighting inside the town where mostly Asayish and NDF are fighting. This could change if the conflict escalates even further toward a full war.
- There is a clear, maybe unforeseen, risk for large numbers of local Arab fighters deserting the SDF/Asayish ranks. In fact, there are reports of groups shifting allegiance to NDF in the past few days with increasing frequency and magnitude.
MAJOR EVENTS THAT WILL SHAPE SYRIA IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS by Ziad Fadel