DAMASCUS – On January 17 and through this morning in the west of Aleppo there are intense exchanges of mortar and rocket-artillery attacks. The Syrian army has been firing at militant positions for the third day in a row.
Last night almost all the western suburbs and suburbs of the second largest Syrian city, as well as several villages along the M5 highway (Damascus – Aleppo), suffered heavy blows. In the southwestern suburbs, most of the attacks fell on the town of Khan-Tuman and its environs, the Military Observer portal reports.
For the first time in the battles in the west of Aleppo province, craft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic participated. Together with the Syrian Air Force, the Russian air forces attacked militants in largely vacated villages west of the provincial administrative center — Ain Jara, Kafr Naha, Daraat-Izza, Kashima, Atareb and others.
The militants of the Islamist alliance “Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham” (HTS, the leading role in its composition is played by the terrorist group “Jebhat Fath al-Sham” banned in Russia, the former “Jebhat al-Nusra”), attack the government-controlled areas of western Aleppo. Shells and mines were torn in the streets of Zahra, Ghazali, New Aleppo, Rasaf, Hamdania. Killed more than 10 civilians. In total, 28 civilians in Aleppo became victims of three days of shelling.
On the afternoon of January 17, HTS fighters tried to break through the Syrian army defenses from the Leramun industrial zone. The laminated car, with which the Islamists supposed to attack, was hit at a considerable distance (about 800 meters from the army’s positions) and subsequently destroyed. Around midnight, from January 17 to 18, a heavy battle began at the mosque of the Great Prophet in the Zahra district in northwestern Aleppo. The parties used all available means of destruction – from rocket launchers to automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Allegedly, the militants again attempted to penetrate the front line. The battle in the Zahra region lasted until about three in the night. Then there was a lull, but during these hours in the west of Aleppo the exchange of blows resumed.
On January 16, Syrian government forces launched massive missile and artillery attacks on the positions of militants of the HTS and the Turkish “National Liberation Front” (NLF) throughout the western outskirts of Aleppo and southwest of the administrative center of the province of the same name along the M5 highway. In the zone of renewed hostilities there are also settlements south of Aleppo: Khan-Tuman, Karassi, Halasa, Zerba and several others.
On Wednesday evening, January 15, Syrian government forces launched artillery strikes against militants of the HTS and NLF in eastern Idlib. The positions of the Islamists in the area of the villages of Barsa, Abu Jerif and Tel Khatri were hit. Earlier in the same areas, Russian and Syrian aircraft worked.
Thus, another attempt to establish a ceasefire in Big Idlib (Idlib and Hama provinces, parts of Aleppo and Latakia provinces) can be considered frustrated. The January 15th offensive in Idlib began less than a few hours after the threats voiced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the Syrian authorities.
Recall that Turkey and Russia reached an agreement on a new ceasefire in Syrian Idlib. “Quiet Mode” formally entered into force at 00:00 on January 12. The Turkish Ministry of Defense indicated that as a result of the ceasefire, both air and ground combat operations should cease.