In a span of thirty days, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), and Iraqi Paramilitary units – have captured over 210km of territory from the Islamist rebels of Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”, while also advancing in the direction of the strategic Aleppo-Damasacus International Highway that runs through most of Syria’s densely populated provinces.
What began as a surprise, the Syrian Armed Forces’ assault on southern Aleppo has turned into Syrian government’s most effective offensive since the first Qalamoun battle that reopened the Homs-Damascus Highway and secured most of Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this large-scale offensive in southern Aleppo is the overall effectiveness of the military advisors from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); these aforementioned field marshals have replaced the Syrian Arab Army’s senior officers after a lackluster performance that saw the pro-government forces on the defensive for the last eight months.
However, it is not just the leadership that has led to the Syrian Arab Army’s success in southern Aleppo; it is also the large presence of Russian aircraft striking the Islamist rebels and the recent deployment of Hezbollah to this province after a successful offensive at the resort-city of Al-Zabadani in rural Damascus.
The culmination of events that have taken place during this offensive, coalesced with the Syrian Arab Army’s methodical and meticulous assault has revitalized the once battered force that appeared on the brink of collapse at several fronts in northern Syria.