The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces are preparing to launch a new military operation against the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria – Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – and its allies around the city of Aleppo, Syrian pro-government activists reported on May 16.
Local observers expect that the target of the upcoming military operation of the Tiger Forces will likely be the few remaining positions of HTS and its allies in the districts of al-Zahra and Ilirmun in the northern part of Aleppo and several villages north of the city.
Since the start of this year, HTS and its allies have carried out a series of hit and run attacks on SAA positions in the northern parts of Aleppo city from the districts of al-Zahra and Ilirmun. Militants also shell SAA positions there on a daily basis.
Recently, the Turkish Army has established two observation posts in Anadan town, 10km north of Aleppo, and in the al-Rashidin district, 1km west of the city, in order to monitor the de-escalation zone there. However, HTS and its allies have stepped up its attacks.
In response to these hit and run attacks, Russian warplanes conducted a series of heavy airstrikes on positions of HTS and its allies in the al-Zahra district earlier this week. Syrian pro-government sources said that the airstrikes killed several fighters of HTS, including a well-known field commander known as Abdullah Balkash.
The Tiger Forces backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces will likely be able to secure the northern part of Aleppo city within a few days if reports regarding the upcoming military operation are true.