Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Ahrar al-Sham repelled another government forces attack in the western Aleppo countryside.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Liwa’ al-Quds, and and fighters from the National Defense Forces (NDF) attempted to advance towards northern Al-Rashidin, the Mount Shweihana, Al-Jazeera and Ma’arat al-Artik following a very intense strikes by the Russian Air Force on the Al-Rashidin front and the town of Dar Azza. However, government forces didn’t achieve a success again.
HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) announced that it had managed to destroy a Syrian tank in Zahra with a TOW missile. The missile was likely obtained from one of so-called “moderate opposition” groups.
This was the third attempt of government forces to advance in western Aleppo. So far, the SAA and its allies had succeeded only in capturing the village of Khirbet Anadan south of Nubol and Zahra. HTS and Ahrar al-Sham had repelled all SAA attacks in Al-Rashidin and Zahra northwest of Aleppo.
The SAA’s long-awaited offensive to secure western Aleppo was delayed due to the launch of the HTS-led offensive in the Hama countryside that had forced the Syrian military to transfer many troops – most notably the Tiger forces – to northern Hama.
Some experts believe that the SAA’s recent attempts to attack in northwestern Aleppo are nothing more than an attempt to draw attention of HTS from sending reinforcements to northern Hama. The attempts could be also described as a “Reconnaissance By Fire” that is needed to prepare for a large-scale operation near Aleppo city.
However, a large advance in the area is not likely in the near future becase the SAA has to strengthen its forces there before launching such an operation.