Heavy fighting over the weekend in Eastern Aleppo has left the Syrian military with its largest gains in weeks, with the military claiming to have captured three residential districts in a push into the Nusra Front-held portions of the city.
The advance took Hanano on Saturday, and Jabal Badro by Sunday morning. By the evening, the army also reported they’d taken Holok, and are making a push into three further districts, adding that they killed “a large number of terrorists.”
Following up on reports of civilians being trapped in rebel areas and unable to flee, the Syrian state media has reported at least 1,500 civilians managed to escape during the offensive, getting out of rebel-held areas and into government-held districts.
This advance cuts deeply into Nusra territory within Aleppo, and puts them in an increasingly indefensible position, surrounded by the Syrian military and facing regular airstrikes in a shrinking region. Aleppo has been divided since 2012, and this appears to be the closest anyone has come since to reunifying the once major city.
Though Aleppo has long seen as the key to the Syrian Civil War, the reality is the city has suffered so much damage and become so segmented it is no longer clear that unifying the city will mean anything nearly so decisive, nor control over anything more than a lot of ruins and a lot of desperate, war-weary people.