On November 11, US President Barack Obama ordered the Pentagon to take out al-Nusra Front leaders in what marked a major policy shift for Washington in Syria.
"Obama has fundamentally changed Washington's foreign policy priorities" in the war-torn Arab country, the analyst said. "The United States had previously viewed 'Assad's regime' as the greater evil in the Middle East, while al-Nusra Front claimed the status of a viable opposition to the Syrian government."
"Sea-based aviation of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has conducted reconnaissance flights in Syrian airspace on a regular basis to study the battleground and choose priority targets," he said. In addition, "Russian surveillance ships have monitored Syria's coastal areas and inland."
Khrolenko added that Syrian rebels are "desperate." On Thursday, some 6,000 militants led by al-Nusra Front launched an operation aimed at breaking the government siege of rebel-held eastern Aleppo. But the offensive was ill-prepared and badly executed, with the militants "recklessly using all means of combat available to them."
Khrolenko further mentioned strategic implications of Aleppo's liberation.
Once the Syrian Arab Army frees the city, it will be able to "control northern Syria, Kurdish-populated areas on the border with Turkey and northwestern Iraq," he said. "Aleppo is located mere 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the largest Syrian sea port of Latakia, home to more than 550,000 people, and a Russian military base."
Khrolenko maintained that a victory in Aleppo will "deliver a crushing blow to foreign adversaries of Syrian President bashar al-Assad."
In addition, Aleppo's liberation will also dramatically change the facts on the ground in Syria in favor of Damascus and will significantly weaken Islamists in the Idlib province, which has served as a magnet for groups opposed to Assad.