Heavy fighting in and around the major city of Aleppo has left over 200 fighters killed in the past week, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The largest numbers of casualties were among Syrian troops and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
Before the civil war, Aleppo was Syria’s financial and industrial capital, and both sides saw the initial battle over the city, years ago, as likely to be a decisive one for the war. Instead, the battle for Aleppo has been stalemated, and much of the city destroyed.
Nusra Front forces have made recent pushes toward parts of the city, and Syria’s military has fought them in the area just south of the city, trying to chase them out of their key supply route. Rebels have warned the military’s counteroffensive risks the ongoing ceasefire.
Nusra was explicitly excluded from the ceasefire, so attacking them isn’t a violation, but Nusra is closely allied with several rebel groups that are party to the ceasefire, and they’ve treated pushes against Nusra as pushes against them, making it somewhat a grey area.
Observatory figures put the death toll of the last week at 82 troops, 94 Nusra fighters, and 34 ISIS fighters. There is no sign that the fighting has exchanged much territory, and Aleppo itself seems likely to remain contested for the foreseeable future.
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