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by Chris Tomson

According to information obtained by Al-Masdar News, hundreds of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Al-Qaeda affiliate) fighters arrived from Idlib to the western Aleppo countryside on Wednesday. Syrian reconnaissance units and drones have observed extensive Islamist military build-up in the region, causing government troops to stiffen their defences of the city.

Effectively, Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest/Islamist coalition) is expected to launch renewed attacks on the densely populated government-held suburbs of western Aleppo in the coming days in a last-ditch effort to relieve besieged insurgents in eastern Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force will likely increase its sorties over western Aleppo in an attempt to disrupt the upcoming jihadist offensive and reduce its initial impact.

One month ago, a two-pronged Jaysh al-Fateh offensive did gain initial ground but was eventually fully reversed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) which has now turned its attention to insurgents inside Aleppo city itself.

Should the SAA take full control of the provincial capital of Aleppo, widely regarded as the pre-war industrial centre of Syria, government forces will in turn mobilize their forces for an offensive into the Jaysh al-Fateh heartland of Idlib province.