Syrian Airstrikes Pound Rebels as Reinforcements Scramble to Aleppo

Nusra Commanders Insist Their Situation Remains Positive

by Jason Ditz, August 09, 2016

After taking much of an artillery academy over the weekend in the contested city of Aleppo, Nusra Front-led rebels have faced a flurry of airstrikes from Russian and Syrian warplanes, aiming to slow their advance while military reinforcements scramble into the area. Nusra is promising substantial reinforcements of their own.

Pro-government forces claimed the strikes had allowed them to make substantial gains against the rebels, while Nusra commanders insisted the situation remains generally positive and the airstrikes meant little. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights suggested the reality was somewhere in the middle, that the strikes had stalled insurgent movement in the area, but not cut off the corridor.

Syrian military forces and their allies in Hezbollah have dispatched over 3,000 additional troops to Aleppo, aiming to reverse the substantial gains Nusra made over the weekend. It’s unclear how long it will take them to get into the area to really start that counteroffensive.

At the same time, the Syrian Observatory reported several hundred Nusra fighters are arriving in metro Aleppo from the neighboring Idlib Province, which they dominate. Nusra has promised to double the number of fighters in Aleppo and conquer the entire city.

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