Islamist rebels hit Syrian Army convoy bound for Aleppo, dozens killed

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Syria rebel fighters are seen during battles outside Aleppo. File photo: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

ARA News

Aleppo – Islamist factions ambushed a Syrian Army convoy south of Aleppo city on Saturday. The raid aimed to prevent regime reinforcements from reaching the ongoing clashes in western Aleppo.

Militants from Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) hit the army convoy with mortars and heavy machine guns. JFS is an Al-Qaeda splinter group, which was previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

“The attack took place on the Khanasir-Ithria road. The convoy, which was coming from Hama city to Aleppo, consisted of at least 6 army vehicles. [They were] loaded with weapons and carrying dozens of soldiers,” media activist Abduljabbar al-Hamwi told ARA News.

The rebels’ bombardment led to the destruction of four vehicles, while two others were hijacked. At least 24 Syrian Army soldiers were killed and ten others were taken as hostages.

“None of the convoy’s vehicles was able to make it to Aleppo. Our operation was successful and we won’t allow any more military reinforcements to reach […] Aleppo,” Ahrar al-Sham spokesman Anass al-Omar told ARA News.

Al-Omar remains confident that the battle for Aleppo is turning in favor of Syria’s Islamist forces. “Despite all the Russian and Iranian support, Assad won’t be able to win in Aleppo,” he said.

Breaking Siege of Eastern Aleppo 

Syrian Islamist factions -as previously mentioned- have launched an offensive to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham initiated the campaign by attacking several regime-held districts in western Aleppo.

Abu Saeed al-Halabi, a Dutch member of JFS, told ARA News that the new offensive aims to “free the thousands of Muslims besieged in the eastern part of Aleppo.”

Al-Halabi credited the Army of Conquest, also known as Jaish al-Fatah, with laying the groundwork for the offensive, marshaling Syria’s often disparate Islamists. “[They,] JFS and other factions prepared this assault in great detail and synchronized their forces in an unprecedented manner,” he told ARA News.

Al-Halabi added that Jabhat Fateh al-Sham would commit the bulk of its jihadists to this one operation “[We] will commit most of our resources and inghimasi [suicide] fighters,” he said.

“Both [Sunni] mujahidin and Shia militias have gathered thousands of their fighters for a battle which could decide the outcome of this conflict,” al-Halabi stated. “[Our triumph] will likely secure the remaining part of Aleppo city from Shia forces. This will bury the myth of a political solution in Syria.”

Speaking for his fellow jihadists, al-Halabi, said that all of the recent battles in Syria, Iraq and Yemen were linked. “These battles should be seen in the light of the US-Russian-Iranian alliance’s plan to strip the Sunnis from power in the Middle East,” he said.

According to al-Halabi, the Islamist’s campaign is incredibly important “as it could tip Syria’s power balance.” The JFS member told ARA News that Aleppo “could be the mother of all battles.”

Reporting by: Jamil Mukarram | Source: ARA News

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