A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nusra, ISIS Push Back in Aleppo and Deir al-Zor

Although the pro-regime alliance have declared completing the encirclement of Aleppo and the lifting of the siege of the garrison at Deir al-Zor as its primary military objectives, in the past few days Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies counterattacked in Aleppo and set off a tunnel bomb under several regime controlled buildings, a tactic the the rebels have used previously, having bombed Air Force Intelligence in Aleppo in March 2015 using a tunnel bomb; some accounts suggest this bomb was under or near the ruins of that building.

Meanwhile, in the east, ISIS sought to expand its control in Deir al-Zor by pushing back the regime defenders there; ISIS presumably hopes to gain control of Deir al-Zor airfield, which has been essential to Syrian regime and Russian resupply of the besieged garrison.

Although regime reports suggest that both offensives has been pushed back, today's announcement that the partial troop has been extended to Aleppo mat be a sign that the offensives had some effect. Regime and Russian news reports that were touting both the Aleppo and Deir al-Zor advances seem more muted.

Below is a pro0-regime video of drone footage purporting to show the latest tunnel bomb damage.

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