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Syrian Rebels And Terror Groups Come Together To Save Aleppo

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A confederation of Syrian jihadi groups and rebels claimed to have broken the government’s month-long siege of Aleppo Saturday.

More than 20 insurgent groups participated in the week-long effort to break the Syrian government’s siege of the city. The Long War Journal’s Tom Joscelyn reported Sunday that the push is “one of the largest undertakings” Syrian insurgents have conducted since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, backed by Russian and Iranian allies, had completely besieged the city when they cut off the rebel’s last supply route in early July. The confederation’s push was a last chance opportunity to relieve the pressure on both the insurgent forces and the hundreds of thousands of civilians still residing in the city. Joscelyn noted in his report that the attack required “extensive planning” and coordination.

The attack represents the first major operation since al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Nusra Front relaunched itself as an independent terrorist group under the name Jabhat Fath Al Sham (Conquest of the Levant Front, or JFS) July 28. JFS helped form Jaysh al Fath (Army of Conquest), one of the two main coalitions that participated in the push, in early 2015. The second army, known as Fatah Halab (Aleppo Conquest), is a combination of dozens of rebel groups, including Free Syrian Army units, that also formed in 2015. Historically, the group has refused to operate with Nusra Front, making the recent operation a game changer.

JFS spearheaded the attack with two massive waves of suicide bombers driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Suicide attacks on Syrian forces continued throughout the operation.

Aleppo Conquest units played a more traditional role, rooting out Assad’s forces with small arms and guided TOW missiles.

Despite the confederation’s claim of victory, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has reported that fighting continues and that Russian aircraft continue to strike the rebels in an attempt to counter the push.

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