With all eyes on Deir Ezzor and Al-Raqqa, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units in western Aleppo have been quietly building up their forces to launch a major offensive to clear the jihadist pockets near the New Aleppo, Al-Zahra’a, and Al-Layramoun districts.
Units from the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard, Liwaa Al-Quds (Palestinian paramilitary), Syrian Hezbollah, and National Defense Forces (NDF) have strengthened the front-lines in western Aleppo, building a strong foundation from as far south as Rashiddeen and as far north as Al-Layramoun.
The primary objective of this offensive will be to completely expel the jihadist rebels from Aleppo City and reach the Aleppo-Idlib Highway (M-5 Highway) from the Rashiddeen suburb.
At the same time this offensive is launched, units from the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah are expected to launch a simultaneous assault in southern Aleppo to clear area around Khan Touman and Tal Al-‘Eis.
The Syrian military briefly controlled Khan Touman and Tal Al-‘Eis in 2016; however, a large counter-offensive by Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (now Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham resulted in the loss of these imperative towns.
While it is still not clear if the Syrian Army’s High Command has any plans of pushing into the Idlib Governorate, the success of this offensive could very well change their mind, pending the performance of the jihadist rebels.