Islamist Rebel Leader ‘Ready’ to Fight Syrian Troops in Aleppo

Rebels Brace for 'Mother of All Battles'

by Jason Ditz, July 27, 2012

When talking about comments made by a Syrian rebel leader, confusion is inevitable. There are any number of Syrian rebel blocs, and each has a leader, and sometimes within those blocs there are several leaders vying for the role of actual leader, and others just styling themselves as leaders when they talk to Western media outlets.

Today’s rebel leader, an Islamic scholar named Abu Issa, claims to have “between six and seven thousand fighters” under his direct command and 1,500 in Aleppo, and insists his forces are “ready” for the major upcoming battle with Syrian troops.

His force is just one of several bracing for what some are already calling the “mother of all battles” in Aleppo, as Syrian troops look to dislodge the rebels from the nation’s largest and economically most important city.

Both sides have been throwing reinforcements at the city for a solid week, lining up on opposite sides with the belief that this battle will be a “decisive” one in the ongoing civil war. Both sides, of course, are predicting a huge victory, and claim to be at a major advantage.

For the Syrian Army their advantage is clear, advanced weapons, tanks, and air support. The rebels seem considerably more effective in recent weeks in urban combat, however, and maintain that their own determination for victory will be an insurmountable advantage over Assad’s forces.

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