With just a few days left until the Syrian ceasefire, the Syrian military’s offensive in Aleppo is about to come to a halt. The offensive, however, may simply transition to the east, with the military eyeing ISIS territory in Raqqa Province.
The ceasefire, negotiated last week in Munich, explicitly excludes both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, meaning that the Syrian military would be totally free to keep their offensive going so long as it is aimed exclusively at those factions. In theory, they also wouldn’t need to worry about attacks from the other rebel factions.
That was to be the whole point of the ceasefire, after all, to allow the military and the “real rebels” to fight off ISIS ahead of some sort of settlement of the rest of the war. Gains by the government, however, are likely to be off-putting for the rebels, and vice versa.
The US has also been backing the Kurdish YPG in Raqqa, though this probably won’t be an obstacle to the Syrian offensive, as the YPG and the Syrian military have coordinated in the past in fighting against ISIS offensives in the neighboring Hasakeh Province.
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