Rebel front announces push for army positions in Aleppo
April 7, 2014
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: The most powerful rebel alliance fighting in Aleppo province released a video Monday announcing “the first stage” of what they are calling the “I’tassam” campaign targeting a number of military sites in and around Aleppo.
The campaign by the Joint Operations Room “will target the following sites,” reads the unnamed speaker in the video, before specifying five regime military installations, including Aleppo’s artillery academy.
The I’tassam campaign comes from an Arabic word that roughly translates to “holding fast” or “adherence” and is typically used in religious contexts.
The latest Aleppo campaign coincides with the ongoing battle in Syria’s northwestern coastal Latakia province and emphasizes “the importance of closing ranks and coordinating our efforts to bring victory to the patient people of Aleppo,” the rebel fighter says.
The body announcing the I’tassam Campaign is known as the Ahl a-Sham Joint Operations Room, which was established February 24 to direct operations against pro-Assad forces in Aleppo, Syria’s largest and deadliest city. The grouping brings together Jabhat a-Nusra, the Islamic Front and Jaish al-Mujahideen.
Monday’s announcement preceded reports from pro-opposition Sham News Network that rebels had killed 38 government fighters and imprisoned an additional five in the army’s captured Aleppo officer quarters as part of the I’tassam battle. Sham News Network also reported a government helicopter dropping 20 barrel bombs near the Madrasat al-Hikma military base south of Aleppo, one of the five sites mentioned by the video’s speaker.
Aleppo has been the site of increasingly bloody violence between regime and opposition forces since January of this year, with the Syrian government mounting a sustained barrel-bombing campaign over rebel-held neighborhoods. Pro- and anti-Assad forces have launched a series of efforts to expand their control over parts of the city, which until this point remains almost evenly divided with rebels controlling the city’s eastern neighborhoods and the government controlling the west.