The Syrian government has announced a major new offensive against the Nusra Front-held half of the city of Aleppo today, urging locals to avoid areas where terrorists are located and announcing a number of areas through which civilians can flee the area.
The offensive was announced after the latest efforts to revive the already collapsed ceasefire failed. Syrian officials withdrew from the ceasefire on Monday, citing weekend violations. The announcement was vague on whether this offensive would include attempts to send ground forces into the area.
Aleppo has been contested for years, with districts regularly changing hands but no one ever getting control of the entire city. Nusra and the Syrian government have it roughly split down the middle now, with repeated attacks and counterattacks yielding large death tolls but limited territory changes.
Once the industrial and financial capital of the country, it is unclear how valuable Aleppo would really be to a victorious force in practice, given how heavily damaged and divided it has become in years of fighting. Aleppo was once seen by many as the key to winning the civil war, and like the rest of the war, it has remained heavily contested.