by Leith Fadel
ALEPPO, SYRIA (12:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) went from being under siege to besieging the jihadist rebels in Aleppo after three years of war in this northern Syria province.
The Syrian Arab Army mobilized thousands of soldiers in mid-2013 to help reopen the Khanasser Highway and lift the siege on Aleppo City.
This would prove effective, as the Syrian Arab Army not only reopened this highway, but also lifted the siege on the provincial capital.
2014 was a great year for the Syrian Arab Army in Aleppo, as they were able to capture several sites from the jihadist rebels, while also losing minimal ground.
Continuing where they left off in 2013, the Syrian Armed Forces managed to capture the Sheikh Najjar Industrial District after a long battle with the Free Syrian Army and their Islamist allies.
The capture of the Sheikh Najjar District would pave the way for the Syrian Army to reach the Aleppo Central Prison and lift the two year long siege there.
Following a successful year, the Syrian Armed Forces suffered several setbacks in the Aleppo Governorate during the first half of 2015.
The Syrian Armed Forces began the year by launching a massive offensive to lift the siege on Al-Zahra’a and Nubl; this would turn disastrous after they spread their front-lines too thin.
Not only were their gains reversed, but the jihadist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra managed to seize the Al-Malaah Farms and several nearby sites.
Finally, in late September 2015, the Syrian Armed Forces got the break they were looking for: the Russians entered the war.
In a matter of weeks, the Syrian Arab Army as advancing at several fronts, capturing a number of sites from both the rebels and ISIS.
Similar to 2014, the Syrian Armed Forces have been on the offensive for most of year, advancing at several fronts.
The Syrian Armed Forces captured much of southern Aleppo from Jaysh Al-Fateh in the early part of the year and they still managed to hold much of the territory after a massive counter-offensive.
Not only did the Syrian Armed Forces lift the three year long siege on Al-Zahra’a and Nubl this year, but they also captured several districts that were nearly untouchable months prior.
In July, the Syrian Armed Forces began their massive assault on Aleppo city, seizing much of the Al-Layramoun District in a matter of days.
Following their advance at Al-Layramoun, the Syrian Armed Forces expelled the remaining jihadists at the strategic Bani Zaid District and eventually captured the Al-Malaah Farms; this left rebels besieged after the Castillo Highway was cutoff.
The jihadist rebels of Jaysh Al-Fateh would later launch a counter-offensive to reopen a pathway in the south; this would prove to be unsuccessful.
Now, the Syrian Armed Forces are concentrating on the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.
The Syrian Armed Forces have captured most of Aleppo’s northeastern corridor, leaving a pocket of districts that are still under Fatah Halab’s control in the east.
Over the next few weeks, the battle of Aleppo could change drastically if the jihadist rebels reverse the Syrian Army’s gains in the southern part of the provincial capital.
If this happens, then the Syrian Armed Forces are going to be in for a long winter.