After Losing Supply Route, al-Qaeda Attacks Govt-Held Districts in Aleppo

Syrian Airstrikes Keep al-Qaeda Forces From Making Serious Gains

by Jason Ditz, July 11, 2016

Fighting continues over the Syrian city of Aleppo, once the nation’s industrial and financial capital. While the Syrian military repelled al-Qaeda’s attempts to retake Castello Road, the last supply route into al-Qaeda’s half of the city, al-Qaeda shifted its focus against the pro-government districts instead.

Heavy airstrikes from the Syrian military kept al-Qaeda’s forces from making any serious gains into the government-held districts, though locals within a Christian neighborhood noted many homes were damaged by al-Qaeda shellling.

Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which was excluded from the February ceasefire in Syria, used the relative calm to push deep into the area around Aleppo, capturing a number of villages and ultimately taking about half of the city itself. They and the military have been trading fire for months in the area to little effect.

The loss of Castello Road to the military likely puts Nusra on a bit shorter timetable, as they have no reliable way of getting more supplies into the city, and are ultimately either going to have to carve out of a new supply line, or risk losing that territory back to the military.

Aleppo has been contested by myriad factions throughout the Syrian Civil War. The hugely valuable city was presented by several groups as the key to winning the war, but with no one ever taking the city outright, the war has just continued. At this point, it’s not clear what’s left to be gained from holding the segmented and badly damaged city.

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