After taking ground in a number of recent battles in Aleppo and its countryside, armed opposition factions are now seeking to halt the advance of regime forces, Islamic State (ISIS) forces and the Kurdish militias in a number of areas in the city and its countryside.
Speaking to Al-Souria, rebel commander Abu Yaman said: "In 2013, opposition factions were advancing in many regime-held areas, armed with very simple kinds of weapons. We managed to cut the regime's supply route, and we were planning to progress towards the Defense Plants, but since the advent of ISIS, the situation has started to decline as the regime began to regain strength and mobilize its troops in order to restore control over the entire city of Aleppo."
Abu Yaman added the opposition in Aleppo is currently fighting on several fronts: "Against the regime in the southern, western and northern areas of the province of Aleppo, while many of our forces are fighting against ISIS and Kurdish militias in the northern countryside."
"Opposition forces in Aleppo have been depleted for the past two years, as we have sacrificed hundreds of martyrs, but the recent Russian support for the regime with dozens of air raids on opposition forces, as well as the entry of hundreds of militants of Iraqi, Iranian and other origins, has weakened our ability to face all of these forces. The international community remains silent, refusing to arm the opposition with anti-aircraft weapons, or imposing a buffer-zone to prevent regime aircraft and Russian air forces from targeting opposition fighters, which has resulted in the decline of the Syrian opposition in Aleppo.”
In a related context, Captain Nidal Obaid of the Sham Rebel Brigades military office said in a statement that the recent battles between opposition and regime forces are an attempt to control the supply routes. Obadi added that infighting between different factions, including the fight between the Nusra Front and the Hazm Movement, as well as fighting between Nusra and the Syria Revolutionaries Front, has led to a significant decline in the ranks of the opposition.
The situation is also worsening in the southern countryside of Aleppo, especially with the progress of the Iraqi, Afghan and Iranian militias who have seized large swathes of area in the province’s south.
Regime forces, ISIS and Kurdish militias have seized large parts of the northern countryside of Aleppo in addition to neighborhoods within the city of Aleppo itself. ISIS militants have already seized the eastern countryside of the province, a development which has caused alarm among rebels, resulting in efforts to recapture and preserve opposition-held areas.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.