While yesterday’s claims that the Nusra Front (recently rebranded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) had “broken” the siege of Aleppo were premature, the situation on the ground does appear to be shifting dramatically, with suggestions that the key artillery academy in Aleppo has been further compromised by Nusra forces, who now hold the bulk of the compound.
The heavily fortified academy is a key to the city, as not only does Nusra’s advance effectively break the siege of their half of the city, but has forced the Syrian military to quickly redeploy to avoid their half of the city being cut off from supplies as well.
This appears to portend a dramatic escalation in the already heavy fighting for Aleppo, with heavy airstrikes reported against Nusra forces, with speculation that Russian planes are involved, and both sides promising substantial reinforcements in the near future.
Nusra insists they “will not rest” until they conquer the entire city, while Syrian and Hezbollah forces are said to be moving toward Aleppo, trying to prevent further losses that would put their half of the city in serious jeopardy. As usual, the stalemate looks far from broken.
Aleppo was Syria’s industrial and financial capital before the civil war, and when it first became contested, the factions involved predicted that the battle would ultimately decide the war. This has proven prescient, as Aleppo’s battle has remained unresolved, as has Syria’s overall war.