Six months ago, the Syrian Arab Army appeared exhausted and defeated in Aleppo, due in large part to the absence of reinforcements and the demoralising insurgent victories. With winter looming around the corner, the insurgents seemed poised to capture Aleppo and strike another blow to the SAA in northern Syria.
Suddenly, on a warm November day, the SAA did the unthinkable – they liberated the imperative district of Al-Safira in southeast Aleppo. For those people who followed the battles closely, this victory would come as no surprise, as reinforcements from Hama and Homs poured into Khanaseer two weeks earlier and liberated the main road to Al-Safira, obstructing the vital insurgent supply route. Once Al-Safira was liberated, the SAA never looked back. They would liberate Base 80, the Aleppo International Airport and much of the eastern Aleppo countryside in the months following this monumental victory.
Since November of 2013, the SAA has liberated many of the villages in southeast Aleppo; but now, the SAA has its sights set on liberating all of the Sheikh Najar District and breaking the siege at the Aleppo Central Prison. With the recent advance into the village of Haylaan and the quarries outside of the Handaraat District, the SAA’s morale has sky-rocketed. For the first time in almost a year, the soldiers at the Aleppo Central Prison can hear artillery shells from an SAA contingent 2 KM away. The Syrian Government reopened the Aleppo International Airport and successfully completed a flight without militants firing on the airplane. Just last week, reporters were pictured with the SAA soldiers at the Citadel in the Old City of Aleppo; this area was under fire for months, until the recent retreat of FSA combatants. What has become clear is that the insurgents are suffering major blows and quickly losing the areas they once captured in Aleppo.
“We can still hear their (FSA) shells, but the sound is far away.”
-Mahmoud (An Aleppo resident in the Old City)
“There is a lot of gunfire in Sakhour. I know the Syrian Army close.”
-Jony (An Aleppo resident in the Suleimaniyyeh)
Optimism is in the air and the civilians are rallying in support of the Syrian Government all over the country. Recently, civilians in liberated city of Al-Safira (Aleppo), took to the streets in support of their government and army. Chants for reconciliation – coalesced with patriotism – were loud and clear. The people were not afraid to pour into the streets and for most of the onlookers; the people seemed rejuvenated. The destruction and dilapidation of historical Aleppo may be evident, but the hope for peace and prosperity has fueled their souls, despite the absence of humanity in this brutal war.