On June 9, the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces launched fresh attacks in South Aleppo and in the Mallah area, located North to the strategic Castello road that is the latest militant’s supply line. According to some reports, these attacks is the first stage of a full-scale offensive in the area of the Aleppo city. For example, SouthFront’s partners from AlMasdarNews reported on June 8 that the long-avaited offensive in Aleppo will be started in from the liberation of the militant-controlled ‘Anadan Plains:
Led by the prominent field commander Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan and his Tiger Forces, the Syrian Armed Forces have mobilized in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo, where they hope to capture this well-defended jihadist stronghold.
Furthermore, the Tiger Forces will not be conducting this latest offensive alone; they will be joined by the National Defense Forces (NDF), Liwaa Al-Quds (Palestinian paramilitary), Al-Ba’ath Battalions, and Arab National Guard.
SouthFront can’t agree with the reports that the Syrian government is able to launch a full-scale offensive in the city of Aleppo in coming days.
There is no secret for Western experts and opposition armed groups that the Syrian government will need to launch the offensive in the Aleppo city if Bashar al-Assad wants to remain in power. The control of Aleppo has a strategic logistical, diplomatic and PR importance. In other words, the side that controls the city will be able to turn the tide of the international talks on the Syrian crisis. This is why Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham have recently launched a series of military operations in the city and its nearby areas, pushing Kurdish units from the Sheikh Maqsoud district and gaining the ground in the area of the Kan Touman town.
In turn, the Syrian government forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, have been paritipating a competition with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dubbed “Who will seize Raqqa?”. Some experts believe that the Syrian advance on Raqqa is drived by political and PR reasons instead of the military necessity. The Assad government is seeking to gain the revenue from the fact that the US-led Syrian Democratic Forces haven’t even started a significant move in the direction of Raqqa. They are clashing for the ISIS-controlled city of Manbij:
There are serious doubts that the Syrian Arab Army, even supported by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hezbolalh and other militias, is able to perform 2 large-scale offensive operations, simultaneously. They just don’t have enough competent soldiers and specialists. Thus, the loyalist troops will continue to advance on Raqqa while they are able to do this, successfully. It’s a common logic of war.
The SAA’s advance in the Raqqa province:
Now, the government’s goal in Aleppo is to stabelize the front line and counter Al Nusra and Ahram al-Sham attempts to exercise offensive operations and shell the populated areas. The Russian Aerospace Forces, deployed in Syria, and the Syrian Arab Air Force are capable to provide an air cover for the both, Raqqa offensive and counter-operations in Aleppo.
If the goal is the full-scale storm of the city, the pro-government forces will need to deploy more reinforcements in the area and intensify air raids in the city. Unfrortunately, it will lead a significant collateral damage to the city’s infrastructure and the local Suni population, the main militant forces are located in the Suni-populated areas. Are the Russian military ready for such decision? We will see the answer, soon.