Taking Advantage of Syrian Offensive, Kurds Move Against Rebel-Held Base

Levantine Front Rebels Struggle With Multi-Front Fighting

Earlier this week, the Levantine Front, an Islamist faction that holds a small amount of territory in northern Aleppo Province, began complaining that they are fighting on several fronts, facing the Syrian military advance, along with ISIS and Kurdish pressure on their respective frontiers.

While most of their focus in recent days has been on the Syrian military’s offensive in the area, today it’s the Kurdish YPG that is moving against them, taking advantage of Russian airstrikes and an off-balance rebel force to attack the Mannagh Air Base.

The reports indicate that while pushing toward the base, the YPG is also aiming for the village of Kfar Naya. Kurdish officials have suggested their goal is to take more or less the entire Aleppo Province border with Turkey, which mostly belongs to ISIS, but which includes this strip of territory as well.

Russian warplanes are said to be providing air support for the YPG offensive, a shift since the group usually depends on the US coalition for help. With Russia’s focus on helping the Assad government, however, they likely figure that bolstering the Kurds at the expensive of Islamist factions is a step in the right direction.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.