After many weeks of bloody fighting in and around the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian military is making one of its first significant gains today, with reports that they’ve moved to within “firing range” of the Castello Road, which was the last al-Qaeda-held road leading to the rebel-held side of Aleppo.
Aleppo is split roughly in half between the Syrian military and a rebel coalition dominated by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Al-Qaeda had been contesting villages in the vicinity recently, but the loss of the road could leave their part of the city effectively surrounded.
The road has been seen as hugely important to al-Qaeda’s presence in the area, with the military having repeatedly shelled it in an attempt to stop rebel convoys. This is the first time, however, they’ve gotten ground troops close enough to effectively stop any traffic on the road.
Aleppo was long seen as the key to the Syrian Civil War, but after many years of fighting the city is in such ruins that it’s unclear how valuable it would really be to whoever ultimately ends up taking it, assuming any faction ever fully controls it.
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