Syrian Islamist rebels launch offensive to break the siege of eastern Aleppo

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Syrian rebels during clashes against pro-Assad forces in Aleppo. File photo

ARA News

Aleppo – Syrian Islamist rebels, led by the Army of Conquest, launched an offensive on Friday to break the siege on eastern Aleppo. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), an al-Qaeda splinter group, 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.

Jabhat al-Nusra announced in July that it had broken its ties to al-Qaeda and that it had changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. However, Russia and the US view these changes as cosmetic and have continued to target the group.

According to al-Halabi, the Aleppo offensive has great importance “as it could tip Syria’s power balance.” The JFS member declared that “this could be the mother of all battles.”

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