Reports this Friday morning have confirmed that the Jaish al-Fatah (JaF) hard-line Islamist/Jihadist coalition have succeeded in their operation to take the strategically important location of Khan Tuman in Southern Aleppo. Fighting continued throughout the night with Assad regime forces as JaF–spearheaded by Jund al-Aqsa, Jaish As Sunnah and Jabhat al-Nusra–sought to cement their hold on the village. Fighting started yesterday with an offensive involving several SVBIED martyrdom operations, ATGM strikes, and armor charges. The SyAAF and RuAF patrolling the airs above did not seem to affect the situation, with Jund al-Asqa drone footage documenting the regime rout of Khan Tuman front line positions.
It soon became clear that JaF had not only taken Khan Tuman, but had also taken several other nearby locations. The English language JaF account listed the additional captured areas as:
- Tal Zaytun
- Abu Ruwayl
- Kharba Haj Azo
- Tal Mastawi
- Tank Hill
JaF are also reportedly advancing swiftly upon the village of Humayra. In addition to the loss of strategic locations, the regime has lost various vehicles including several tanks as well as field cannons, and men with several POWs captured by JaF. The SOHR has stated that the casualties of the offensive so far are 73 killed, with 43 rebels KIA and 30 regime forces KIA, however this isn’t accounting for recent regime casualties such as 10 KIA in an ambush claimed by Jund al-Aqsa.
The consequences for the inconsistent and largely non-existent ceasefire that world powers were hoping to apply to Aleppo remain to be seen (it was set to start on Wednesday 2016-05-04 at 02:00 GMT), as these events seem to make a mockery of this agreement. However, it is important to note that the hard-line Islamist and Jihadi factions of JaF were likely excluded from any ceasefire agreement anyway, unlike moderate Aleppo based Syrian Opposition coalitions such as Levant Front and Fatah Halab who’s own recent Aleppo offensive concluded before the broadening of the ceasefire to Aleppo a few days ago, and which met with less success.