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International Military Review – Syria, Dec. 22, 2015

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On Dec.20, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies successfully captured the town of Khan Touman and the village of Qarasi in southern Aleppo. On Dec.21, the Syrian forces advanced west of Khan Touman capturing Kalidiyah village and several hundred meters along the Aleppo-Damascus highway. Strategically, this cuts the terrorists’ supplies through the highway. Now it’s useless for militants of the Jaish al-Fateh coalition which includes such groups as al Nusra. However, this offensive has come at a heavy cost for the SAA as Jaish al-Fateh militants have massively used the US-supplied TOW-missile against government vehicles in the area.

The SAA is currently attempting to relieve the situation in Aleppo pushing towards the government-enclave and Shi’a towns of Fuah and Kafrhaya near Idlib city. This maneuver does seem to approach Nubl and al-Zahraa from the south. If the main direction of the offensive isn’t successful, there will be a possibility that the Syrian Army will launch an offensive towards the predominately Shi’a towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa. The government troops have made steady advances in the Aleppo province in the past two months largely due to Russian Airstrikes and massive Shia reinforcements from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

According to the pro-government sources, the SAA has moved reinforcements to the northeastern part of the Aleppo province to conduct large-scales operations against the ISIS strongholds Northwest of Raqqa. For instance, large groups of the fresh forces have been sent to the town of Sarrin. An expected aim of the Syrian forces is Tishrin Dam and its nearby areas. Considering a lack of manpower to continue successful advances in all directions, the opening of a new front could pursue only the political goals. The Syrian government aims to show possibility to take control of the crucial Syrian city amid the planned US-backed advance on Raqqa.

On Dec.21, a sum of 116 militants surrendered to the Syrian authorities in the Homs province. According to the reports, the recent militant’s loses at the buttleground and the Russian warplanes in the air have caused a growing number of militants to lay down arms in the hope of the general amnesty granted by the Assad government. Over 35 militants surrendered to the authorities in Homs on December 13. Earlier, militants began to evacuate from the Homs city under a deal signed with the government in late November.

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