Daily Management Review

As Syrian Army Prepares an Assault, Isis battles insurgents near Aleppo


As Syrian Army Prepares an Assault, Isis battles insurgents near Aleppo
While the Syrian army is preparing an offensive of its own backed by Iranian soldiers and Russian jets, the Islamic State of Isis militants is reported to have battled rival insurgent groups on Wednesday north of the city of Aleppo.
Islamic State fighters took control of part of the towns of Ahras and Tel Jabin, about 12 km (8 miles) north of Aleppo, before being pushed back, said rebel fighter and a group monitoring the war.
The supply lines of rival rebels inside the city, which is divided between insurgents and government forces would be threatened by the gains by Islamic State north of Aleppo. The road used by Aleppo residents heading north to the Turkish border remained closed on Wednesday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Today there are fierce battles between us and Daesh in Ahras, Tel Jabin, and rural northern Aleppo," said Hassan Haj Ali, head of the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal rebel group, using another name for Islamic State, reported Reuters.
Hassan Haj Ali’s forces are the ones who are being bombed by Russian jest even as this  unit is one of several foreign-backed insurgent forces which find themselves fighting Islamic State on the ground. The rebel forces are also bracing for a broad ground offensive by the army.
"There are mobilizations by the regime in most parts of Aleppo, particularly in Bashkoy," he said, referring to another town north of Aleppo, which before Syria's civil war began in 2011 was the country's biggest city and a major commercial and industrial center.
"There were advances (by Islamic State) at dawn but we were able to recover Ahras entirely. There are battles in Tel Jabin," said Ali.
To bolster one offensive that is underway in Hama province and in preparation for another in the Aleppo area, Iran has sent thousands of additional troops into Syria in recent days, two senior regional officials told Reuters.
A team of Iranian lawmakers arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, and pictures circulated on social media showed the head of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in western Syria. This was an indication that experts see as Iran’s show of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the central role being played by the country.
Soleimani was pictured in a wooded area of northern Latakia province addressing Iranian officers and Hezbollah fighters with a microphone, wearing dark clothes as he spoke to the men in camouflage.
Iran's Tasnim news agency reported that two senior Revolutionary Guards officers were killed fighting Islamic State in Syria on Monday. A top Hezbollah commander and another senior Guards commander was killed last week.
The Syrian army and its allies have been fighting insurgents in northern Hama province, and neighboring Idlib and Latakia provinces supported by two weeks of air strikes. The aim is to reverse rebel gains over the summer which had threatened the coastal heartlands of Assad's Alawite minority.

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