On February 15, Syrian government forces opened a new front against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and other Turkish-backed militant groups in western Aleppo.
Additionally to advances in the areas of Urma al-Kubra and Kafr Naha, units of the Syrian Army (allegedly supported by the Kurdish YPG) attacked positions of Turkish-backed radicals near Sheik Aqil Hill and Kafr Basin. According to pro-government sources, army troops suppored by the Russian and Syrian airpower are aiming to encircle and clear militants remaining in the western Aleppo countryide.
For this purpose, they will need to take control of Kafr Basin, Babis and Qabtan al-Jabal. After this, the defense of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and their al-Qaeda-linked comrades will collapse. Supplies of MANPADs from Turkey are apparently not enough to change the situation strategically.
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