In the wake of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) operations that 9 months ago targeted and crushed rebel positions in West Aleppo’s Sheikh Najjar Industrial City, a complex once teeming with factories producing textiles and employment, government forces have slowly eroded supply lines of enemy forces through a determined campaign of encirclement that has come to include regular Army regiments and professionalized local militias consisting of Syrians from all sects.
This strategy has proved highly effective in subverting rebel efforts to access supplies and foreign fighters from both the Turkish border and the countryside stretching west from Aleppo to Idlib. The campaign resulted in a buildup of military forces that is now culminating in the Liberation of Aleppo. The besieged Shia-majority village of Al-Zahra now has a SAA presence which has not been seen since 2012. In addition, According to a military source in Aleppo, the SAA – in cooperation with Kata’eb Al-Ba’ath (Ba’ath Battalions) – have secured 80 percent of the Bani Zayd Quarter in the city of Aleppo after fierce clashes with members of the Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya).
The recent, swift advancement of the SAA, NDF, and the crucial role of Hezbollah, leave the Islamic fighters with one remaining supply route to their Turkish patron. In a surprise attack the troops were able to cut off the highway linking rebels in Aleppo to Turkey and seize six villages.
The liberation of the remnants of rebel-plundered Aleppo, by means of a negotiated settlement that allows rebels to leave the City for friendlier territory, or their outright military defeat, is on the horizon if the advances are consolidated and new ones made to complete the encirclement and cut off the remaining supply route.
A political or military solution, organic to the conditions on the ground, should be the primary intention of the international community. It is curious then, that at the height of of possibility for this occurrence since rebels sacked half of Aleppo in 2012, the United States and Turkey have decided “in principal” on an agreement to begin training and arming a new contingent of rebel forces on Turkish soil. The United States and Turkey have reached a tentative agreement to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters and expect to sign the pact soon, U.S. and Turkish officials said on Tuesday with Ankara predicting a signing in days. This agreement to regroup a rebellion in the North of Syria can only be described as part of the United States evident intentions in the Arab world, to deepen and protract conflicts whilst forwarding a sectarian narrative that creates conditions conducive for intervention against fragmentary, exhausted opponents that can have no say in a political settlement involving their own nation’s future.
The Arab Nationalism that exists in Syria is not promotive of international and regional agreements between the West and its proxy powers. From the Crimea War to Sykes-Pikot through to today, an internally conflicted Arab world exhausted by its own warfare has been the foreign policy of the West. In the Resistance Bloc, Syria is the lynchpin, connecting the backbone (Iran), the vanguard party against Zionism (Hezbollah), and the Palestinian national resistance, which is the motivation and reminder to all Arab Nationalist forces. The artificial borders of the mandate period are willfully being disregarded because of their inherent illegitimacy. The question then is, which synthesis will win out? The Resistance blocs, which together from Palestine to Iran, could mount an effective campaign against Imperialism and Zionism and give the people themselves the ability to choose their fate and manner of unity? Or the Wahhabi Islamists, who are backed as proxy forces by their patrons in the Gulf, Turkey, and the West to counter the Resistance Bloc but are now so out of control not even they are able to control their destructive behavior.
The Liberation of Aleppo wont end the war for Syria, but it should be the beginning of a new offensive against those forces which fight on the side of the most reactionary, extreme, and discriminatory movements in the Middle East.
Halab is one of the oldest cities in the world today, able to cross-fertilize many cultures to produce a superior civilization that welcomed Armenians and Assyrians fleeing Turkish genocide, Arab-Muslims of all sects, and all others who have passed through the Middle East. It is a seat of traditional Arab music, and all this makes it a landmark capital for what kind of civilization the Middle East should seek to create. Liberation and Replication is the solution.