Nine months ago, the Syrian Armed Forces launched a surprise offensive in northern Aleppo that was geared to capture the villages of Duwayr Al-Zeitoun and Bashkoy; instead, the undisciplined National Defense Forces (NDF) decided to push all the way to the isolated Shi’i towns of Al-Zahra’a ad Nubl.
Much to their surprise the next day, hundreds of Islamists crossed into Syria from Turkey in order to help drive back the NDF and Al-Ba’ath Battalion soldiers that shockingly captured the villages of Hardatineen, Rityan, Bashkoy, and Duwayr Al-Zeitoun after intense firefights with the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and Harakat Ahar Al-Sham.
Unfortunately for the NDF and Al-Ba’ath Battalion soldiers, they were swarmed by the Islamist fighters of Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, while they attempted to evade the aforementioned Islamist groups in the open fields of Hardatineen, Rityan, and Al-Malaah; it ended badly for them, as they were attempting to withdraw in the wide-open without any air cover.
Since this offensive, the Syrian Armed Forces have been on the defensive all over the Aleppo Governorate, as the Islamist factions like Jabhat Al-Nusra, Jund Al-Aqsa, Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, the Free Syrian Army, and Harakat Nour al-Deen Al-Zinki repeatedly attack their positions.
In August, Jabhat Al-Nusra withdrew from northern Aleppo, leaving the area to the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Shamiyah, despite the looming threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) that was growing in the eastern countryside.
In a matter of three weeks, ISIS was able to capture large swathes of territory from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Shamiyah, pushing their way to the imperative towns of Tal Rifaat and Mar’e that sit along the Syrian rebels main supply route from the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
Now, it is time for the Syrian Armed Forces to strike northern Aleppo and there is no better time than now, as the Islamist militants are busy fighting one another near the Turkish border.
According to sources from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), a large convoy of Iraqi militiamen from Harakat Al-Najaba’ were prepping to lift the siege on Al-Zahra’a and Nubl.
The sources could not reveal too much about the coming offensive; however, the attack is specifically focused on the main road leading to Al-Zahra’a and Nubl’s eastern flank.