Safwat alZayat is a retired Egyptian General, specialist in military questions. He commented on alJazeera several battles between 2012 and 2015. All are posted on the blog with english synopsis.
The battle of Aleppo as an urban war has not yet began though the border neighborhoods have gone
The overall view : Aleppo situation
I would like to draw the attention that we are not at the 10th or 14th day of the ground campaign, but we are at more than 420 days.
We are witnessing strategic strikes by the RU AF.
We have 180 days of siege after the Castello road was controlled at fire range.
We are also at the second siege after the failure of the campaign to break the siege of Aleppo. Since then, The resistance has always been in a state of full alert and steadfastness. We are at the beginning of a battle and the road is still long ahead.
Regime victory is a propaganda
He denies claims as int’l news outlets are declaring the regime victory.which is not In 2013, Al Qusayr fell and everybody preached the end of the spring. And then in 2015, Idlib, Ariha, Wadi Dayf barracks and Jisr alShughur were captured by the rebels. The regime was almost finished if RU did not intervene. We don’t pay attention to publicity and we will face the greatest propaganda campaign possible during the battle of Aleppo.
Rebels agreement with the PYD
As for the northern neighborhoods, he said that it is not a military progress. The Rebels have made an agreement with the PYD to hand them some neighborhoods in the northern parts of the city, in exchange of the civilians security. It should be seen as only a dynamic move. Nothing else.
The rebels withdrawal to the south
The withdrawal of the rebels to the south is tactical and not a victory for Assad and his militias as claimed by the regime propaganda and the int’l news outlets.
The fact that without military support from the outside, can the rebels revert the battle balances ?
This brings tow questions : Can they carry an attrition war ? Can they take off their shoulders the responsibility for civilians who, in fact, are as well a weigth for them and the regime who will turn into a war criminal. But the latter question will need further developments.
Back to the attrition war, he answered yes. Rebels have seen the siege arrive for years. They have arms and ammunitions. Recently they formed a unified military council which was necessary. So, we have to sit and wait for the urban battle to begin. We lived such a battle in Gaza in 2014, 2008 and 2012 and we saw the defects in the military balance. We were not disturbed when there was pulled out from Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahya…
Same is happening in Aleppo. The rebels withdrawal from the Sakhur, Jabal Badro and Masaken Hanano, is tactical and is a good decision, because they realised the battle will be in the central areas, old city of Aleppo and the south.