Jaysh al-Fatah coalition capture Khan Touman in southern Aleppo

Still of a vbied explosion from the Jabhat al-Nusra video below.

On 6 May, the Jaysh al-Fatah rebel coalition, led by Jabhat al-Nusra, captured the southern Aleppo towns of Khalidiya and Khan Touman. The attack began with VBIED strikes, such as the one shown below, filmed by a Jabhat al-Nusra operated drone. Rebel groups had previously failed to capture the towns over a month ago, during the same offensive the resulted in the taking of al-Eis. The town was reportedly mostly garrisoned by members of the Aghan Shia Liwa Fatemiyoun and Iraqi Shia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba militias. Two Syrian soldiers were captured, one of whom has since been executed by members of the Turkistan Islamic Party.

Khan Touman is just 15km southwest of the rebel-controlled parts of Aleppo city. These parts of Aleppo are connected to the rest of rebel territory by Castilo road to the north, which frequently falls under attack. Hypothetically, if rebel forces were able to advance north and east of Khan Touman, they could open up a second supply route into the city.

map of the attack. source (pro-rebel).

This success comes after Jaysh al-Fatah, the coalition largely responsible for 2015's conquest of Idlib, announced its return. Faylaq al-Sham recently rejoined the coalition, as jihadist outfit Jund al-Aqsa departed (Faylaq al-Sham allegedly left due to discontent with Jund al-Aqsa. The ethnically-Uighur (Turkic Muslims from Xinjiang, China) Turkistan Islamic Party is also now a member. Despite leaving Jaysh al-Fatah, Jund al-Aqsa was still a part of this attack, coordinating through either Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Turkistan Islamic Party.

 

A graphic depicting the new Jaysh al-Fatah roster. Source.

Groups involved in the fighting around Khan Touman, including the FSA group Jaysh al-Nasr. Source (pro-rebel).

The two captured SAA soldiers. The one on the right has reportedly been executed. Source.

Turkistan Islamic Party shows off weapons captured at Khan Touman. Source.