by Jason Ditz
While their offensive against the area around the border between the Hama and Idlib Provinces continues backed by Russian airstrikes, Syria has launched a second offensive in the area surrounding the northern city of Aleppo, targeting various rebel factions.
The attack is targeting several different rebel groups, including ISIS, which recently seized a number of villages on the outskirts of Aleppo, and Ahrar al-Sham, who recently took one of ISIS’ villages in that area. The city of Aleppo has long been a major goal for Syria.
And while Russia’s air support in this offensive appears to be less substantial than that in the Hama/Idlib area, the Syrian troops are said to be backed by Hezbollah and some other “Iran-backed” forces, with the U.S. putting these auxiliaries at about 2,000 strong.
Aleppo has been contested for several years now, and what was once Syria’s industrial and financial capital, a city of over two million, is now a bunch of contested districts surrounded by wreckage. Syria’s military is one of several factions trying to take the city, and none have been very successful so far. Whoever ultimately ends up with the city is going to have a lot of reconstruction to do.