11:09 GMT25 September 2020
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    Syria's fate "is being decided in real time" as Damascus-led forces assisted by Russian warplanes and their local allies are trying to liberate Aleppo, the Vzglyad newspaper asserted, adding that recent battles for the second largest city in the country have turned into a "race for reinforcements" as both sides lack sufficient manpower.

    Aleppo, according to the media outlet, will only be freed when terrorists locked in urban areas run out of supplies. This will not happen in an instant.

    "Militants have lived in eastern Aleppo for approximately three years. They have settled comfortably in those areas, preparing for prolonged defense," the daily explained. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and all those helping "will only be able to free the city when the militants truly begin to run out of supplies, including ammunition and radio batteries."

    Not a single expert can accurately predict when this will happen. "Even the CIA has no idea how many resources [radical groups fighting in Aleppo] have amassed, particularly at the time when they said they were democrats and liberals," the media outlet observed.

    Recent developments show that the battle for what used to be Syria's most populous city will be a protracted and tough one. Government forces besieged rebel-held areas in the city in late July following a weeks-long operation, but rebel groups opened a corridor on Saturday in an offensive on the 1070 apartment complex, the military academy and the al-Ramousiyeh neighborhood.

    Vzglyad cautioned against saying that the rebels "broke the siege" because they will not be able to receive supplies through this area. "The only suitable road is exposed to fire," the newspaper noted.

    Unnamed sources echoed these sentiments in comments for the Fars news agency.

    "The narrow corridor is actually useless. No one can use it. 24-hour artillery and missile shelling and heavy bombardments by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets have left no chance for the terrorist groups to use this passage to send arms, ammunition or medical equipment to militant-held districts in Aleppo," they said.

    Latest reports indicate that the corridor was closed, with the Army of Conquest, also known as Jaish al-Fatah, unable to reinforce its positions in the neighborhood and the military academy due to SAA shelling and Russian airstrikes.

    "The militant offensive has been stopped, they lost momentum," Vzglyad said, but it does not mean that the SAA won. Damascus-led forces do not have enough fighters to advance deeper in rebel-held areas. The militants face similar challenges, but in this particular case they were able to redeploy manpower faster.

    Vzglyad referred to this new phase as a "race for reinforcements," adding that the coming days will show whether the SAA is capable of adapting to this challenge.


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    Islamic extremism, radical Islam, counterterrorism, Russian airstrikes, Syrian conflict, Jaish al-Fatah, Army of Conquest, Syrian Arab Army, Aleppo, Syria
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