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What the Aleppo offensive hides

The battle for Aleppo may be a long and costly battle for Syrian regime forces due to the size of the city, the remaining large civil population and the multitude of players.
Smoke rises after what activists said was shelling by the forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Old Aleppo's Kadi Askar area, Syria, August 1, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail - RTX1MOEZ

The much-touted attack on Aleppo launched on Oct. 16 has been dovetailed by regime advances in the southern rural areas of Syria. Yet the takeover of the largest Syrian city may prove to be a long and costly battle that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime cannot afford, despite Russian air support. In addition, it may not be the regime’s first priority, as its forces are eyeing supply routes on the city’s southern flank.

Thousands of Shiite militiamen were deployed on Oct. 19 in the Aleppo region under the command of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, from Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an attempt to recapture Aleppo, as reported by The Washington Post quoting officials from three Iraqi militias. The Iraqi Shiite militia, Kataib Hezbollah, has sent approximately 1,000 fighters from Iraq, who are fighting alongside 2,000 members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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