Analyst tells Al-Jazeera regime ‘has a chance’ to take Aleppo
March 3, 2014
ALEPPO ADVANCES: In an interview with Al-Jazeera Sunday, pro-opposition Syrian military analyst Abdulnasir al-Ayed warned that the regime could emerge victorious in the ongoing battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, which has pitted the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups against both the Syrian regime and the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS).
“The regime still has a chance to advance in Aleppo,” al-Ayed said, adding that “revolutionary forces are still distracted by their battle with ISIS.”
Al-Ayed’s remarks come against the backdrop of a fierce military campaign by regime forces seeking to advance in opposition-held eastern and southern Aleppo. Government forces have advanced in recent weeks into the formerly rebel-held villages of Kasr al-Karam and parts of Karam al-Turab, although opposition fighters dispute claims that the regime has seized full control of these areas.
“If rebels do not do something tangible to stop this trajectory,” said Abdulnasir, “the results will be dangerous and catastrophic.”
A native of Syria’s eastern Deir e-Zor province, Abdulnasir studied at the Syrian Air College and writes about military developments for a number of Arab-language newspapers and websites.
Pro-opposition sources maintain that rebels are pushing back, with Sham News Network reporting Saturday that opposition fighters had destroyed two government tanks in the regime-held village of al-Izimat in southern Aleppo province.
Since mid-January, opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo have endured frequent regime shelling with barrel bombs—large metal containers packed with explosive material and shrapnel.
At the same time, rebel forces have since early January been struggling to evict ISIS fighters from Aleppo province. ISIS fighters last week withdrew from the town of Azaz in northern Aleppo, fleeing toward the ISIS-controlled town of al-Bab. Sham News Network reported Sunday that ISIS had shelled the town of Akhtarain, which is controlled by the Islamic Front and Jaish al-Mujahideen, before attempting to storm the town. The operation’s outcome remains unclear.