The different phases of the Hama rif battle have been developped in a previous blogpost. I have also mentionned that both battles of Hama and Aleppo are twined.The balance on one side can shift to the benefit of the other side, and so on, as Ahrar military Spox “Abu Yussuf alMuhajer” has stated it simply that the final battle will be in Aleppo.
JAF did not withdraw its defensive forces from Aleppo. Claims that Zenghi have withdrawn from the Euphrates Shields were denied by their spox
Zenghi has joined militarily JAF Sth Aleppo.
During the first stages of the Hama countryside battle, FSA reached the first regime defense line Qamhana-Khattab to enter Hama city. Then an attack was launched toward the north to capture the village Kawkab. Regardless those successes, rebels forces were under pressure from the North east as the regime could use Ma’an to launch a counter attack.
JAF participation to the battle notably of Jaish alEman (affiliated Ahrar alSham), followed by JFS former Nusra and Ajnad alSham, shifted the pressure away from the rebels military lines : Mharde-Qamhana and Khattab Maardes, to the north east after they captured Ma’an, alQahera, Karah, … and the progress is ongoing. Below maps show that JAF’s shift is as well northward as Eastward.
Yesterday, Rebels recaptured to the barriers that Assad’s militias captrued earlier during the day.
JAF’s control of main loyalist areas (also regime human cradles) have streched the attack lines so that the regime would need more militias to defend them and thus, pulls out forces from Aleppo. JAF shift to the north also intends to cut the regime supply road between Salamiya-Athriya, which will affect the Assad’s militias in Aleppo and its northern side.
Recent reports mention that iraki militias based in the southern rif of Aleppo have been sent to participate to the battle of Hama countryside. A second Assad’s militias convoy from Aleppo has been destroyed few days ago, as reported by former SMC Aleppo Commander on his FB page.
That shift to the north and the east of Hama countryside is an indication that rebel forces are adopting a global strategy.