Jaysh al-Fatah renew Southern Aleppo offensive

Still from Jabhat al-Nusra video. Source.

On 3 June, the Jaysh al-Fatah rebel coalition, along with Jund al-Aqsa and FSA al-Furqa al-Wusta (Central Division), launched attacks on loyalist-held territory in Southern Aleppo. This renewal of the past months' offensive targeted towns to the south and east of Khan Touman (captured last month). A handful of villages and towns surrounding Khan Touman were taken, including al-Qarassi, Humayra, Qal'ajiyah, Ma'rata and an Army Fuel Storage Base and Munitions Storage Base outside Ma'rata. The taking of the Fuel Storage Base brings the groups operating on the Khan Touman front within 6km of opposition-controlled Eastern Aleppo City. Further advancement in this direction would both create a second supply route for rebels within the city, taking pressure off the frequently bombarded Castilo Road and would cut off the loyalist-controlled Western Aleppo from the rest of government territory.

The town of Khalasah south of Humayra was reported taken within the first day of fighting, but videos came out days later showing fighting still going on. Directly to the west, Ajnad al-Sham claimed that loyalist forces initially retreated from the town of Zaytan. It appears that rebel forces initially moved in, but were subsequently forced out due to Syrian and Russian aerial bombardment and shelling.

The offensive was led by Jabhat al-Nusra, who employed multiple SVBEIDs across the front. Jabhat al-Nusra appears to have become the most significant actor within the Southern Aleppo front, frequently spearheading assaults with suicide attacks followed by the deployment of tanks and armored personnel carriers. Nusra's media department, al-Manara al-Bayda, publishes multiple high definition videos of a given battle, utilizing drone and GoPro footage.

On the loyalist side, the Southern Aleppo front is predominantly defended by Afghan and Iraqi Shia militias, such as Liwa al-Fateyimoun, Hashd Shaabi, and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba. Rebel forces reported their capturing of tens of such fighters.

 

Jabhat al-Nusra video from the offensive.

Faylaq al-Sham video from Humayra.