After a couple of weeks of relative calm, forces from al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front have launched a new offensive southwest of the major city of Aleppo, seizing a village from government forces and sparking a flurry of retaliatory shelling.
This area, around Khan Touman, has been a major goal of Nusra fighters since last month, with multiple pushes against the area starting amid the ceasefire, and leading to the capture of a number of villages. The Syrian military is shelling the areas around where the Nusra fighters are believed to be gathered, trying to slow this push.
In the past, such fighting has quickly expanded into Aleppo itself, where the government controls half of the city, and Nusra and its allies control the other half. Both sides have intermittently struck the other’s neighborhoods, causing considerable civilian casualties.
Syrian forces had launched strikes against Nusra neighborhoods in Aleppo yesterday, killing at least 19 civilians in those incidents. Hundreds of civilians have died in Aleppo on both sides in the past month and a half, with no territory changing hands and no reports of significant combatant casualties on either side to go along with it.