Heavy airstrikes against the Nusra Front-held half of the Syrian city of Aleppo began Friday, with officials saying it was to lay the groundwork for a ground invasion. This appears to have begun today, with Syrian ground troops pushing their way into the Farafra District.
The airstrikes killed over 200 people from Friday through Monday, and 11 people were reported killed in airstrikes again today, though the strikes seem to be more limited, as heavy fighting begins on the ground, with the Syrian military believing they can gain control of the city.
The early push was successful, as the Farafra District, in the city’s center, has been captured in the fighting. Syrian military officials say the offensive will continue until they control the entire city and have “wiped out” the insurgency.
Aleppo has been contested since 2012, and while several factions have come and gone, in recent months the military and Nusra Front have each controlled half. While Aleppo was long seen by many as the key to the entire civil war, it is unclear how much value the city has as a strategic asset anymore, after years of heavy destruction.