Syrian Troops Massing for Assault on Aleppo

Key Northern City Remains Stalemated

by Jason Ditz, June 09, 2013

Stalemated some 10 months after both Syrian government forces and rebels announced a battle they believed would be “decisive” for the civil war, Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, is gearing up for another influx of Syrian troops.

Both sides have been adding troops here and there for quite some time, but with the capture of Qusayr the Syrian government appears to be increasingly ambitious about winning the war outright, and sees a major assault on Aleppo as the key.

The idea that Aleppo is the next target is in keeping with what Hezbollah officials were saying last weekend, that they believed Aleppo was the next logical destination after Qusayr. With the border town now decisively in government hands, supply routes to Aleppo, the industrial and financial hub of Syria, are more convenient for Assad forces.

Rebel officials have suggested their focus is elsewhere after the battle of Qusayr, with Gen. Salem Idriss, the head of the Free Syrian Army, predicting more battles inside neighboring Lebanon as a priority, with rebels looking to hit back at Hezbollah by targeting Lebanese towns.

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