The al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front has launched a massive offensive in and around the north Syrian city of Aleppo today, aiming to break the ongoing siege with a push from without, as well as with a series of artillery strikes against the government-held half of the city.
Nusra has secured the support of other rebels within Aleppo, including the US-backed Nour al-Din al-Zinki force, which reported “fast and quick progress” in the offensive around the Ramousah Air Force artillery base. The Syrian state media claimed the offensive was repelled, but indications are that the fighting is ongoing.
Casualties, as are so often the case in fighting around Aleppo, appear to be overwhelmingly civilian in nature, with the Nusra artillery strikes killing at least 28 civilians in government-held districts, and wounding dozens of others. The rebel neighborhoods are already cut off from supply routes, and reports are that some government districts have their own supply routes at risk now too.
Before the civil war, Aleppo was Syria’s industrial and financial capital, and it was believed when fighting began there, several years ago, that the battle for Aleppo would decide the war. That’s proven eerily prophetic so far, as Aleppo has remained contested and heavily destroyed, with no resolution in sight, just like the rest of the disastrous war.
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