3 Reasons Why Rebels Failed to Break the Siege of Aleppo
The publishers of the article, El-Dorar Al-Shamia, say they spoke with several sources inside Army of Conquest (Jaysh al-Fatah) and Aleppo Conquest (Fatah Halab) asking why the offensive was not successful.
Reason #1: Regime and Pro-Regime Militias Figured Out Rebel Tactics
A lieutenant colonel (note: probably SAA defector) in Fatah Halab, who asked to not be named, says that pro-regime militias figured out rebel tactics from previous battles and were able to better prepare for them. The rebels would use suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVIEDs) to shock the first defensive lines, along with artillery and rocket attacks. This would be followed up with strong infantrymen known as “inghimasis” (shock troops). So the pro-regime militias emptied their first defensive lines, determined where the rebels were attacking from, and directed the air strikes there, which would hit the rebels and allow the pro-regime militias to reclaim the territory.
The source said the rebels did not prepare a backup force able to continue the attacks after having controlled the first locations. Once the main attacking force stopped, it allowed the pro-regime militias to counter-attack, which was disastrous for the rebels. The rebels are always better off attacking than defending, because defending an area for an extended period of time is prohibitively expensive in terms of manpower, ammunition, and equipment. Because of the lack of “special” ammunition especially, defending is much harder than attacking, especially in open battles.
Reason #2: Russian Air Strikes
Russian air strikes had a “decisive” role in stopping 2 Jaysh al-Fatah attacks on the 3000 apartments project. Abu Nazaar, a commander in Jaysh al-Fatah, said that failing to capture the 3000 project was the turning point in the battle in favor of the regime. He said that the density of the air strikes was the main reason for this and that cloudy weather the first 2 days had helped the rebels advance.
According to Fatah Halab’s count, there were 400 Russian air strikes on al-Assad suburb and Minyan.
Reason #3: Rebel Infighting; Zinki and Abu Amarah Attacked Fastaqem
A member of Fatah Halab, who asked to not be named, said that the rebels inside the siege were also supposed to launch an offensive from Salahuddin towards Ard as-Sabbagh. When Nour ad-Deen az-Zinki Movement and Abu Amarah Brigades attacked Fastaqem Kama Umirt Union, it caused this attack to be cancelled.
The offensive wasn’t a total failure, because pro-regime forces had 370 killed and 500 wounded. But it didn’t meet any of its military objectives. Breaking the siege will now require a new round of fighting, which will certainly take into account the lessons from this round.