Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter


Fighting in Aleppo Intensifies as Rebels Seek to Break Siege

Fighting has intensified in Syria’s second-largest city as rebels fight to lift the government siege of the eastern part of Aleppo and advance on the western part of the city (Guardian). The offensive, launched by a broad coalition of fighters, is attempting to cut off the government’s supply lines. Rebel fighters set off a large tunnel bomb (BBC) under the district of Ramouseh, where they are concentrating their efforts. Meanwhile Russian air strikes in support of government troops have reportedly intensified. Aleppo has been divided between the government-controlled west and rebel-controlled east since 2012.


“This week’s insurgent counterattack comes at a transitional moment in the ongoing war, with rebel groups in the city fighting both to survive and remain relevant as a national force in the face of regime advances and the growing influence of extremist groups throughout the country,” writes Jared Malsin in Time.

“Wiping out terrorist groups in Syria is an important goal and, after years of death and destruction, any agreement among the country’s warring parties or their patrons may seem welcome. But the Obama administration’s plan, opposed by many within the C.I.A., the State Department and the Pentagon, is flawed. Not only would it cement the Assad government’s siege of the opposition-held city Aleppo, it would push terrorist groups and refugees into neighboring Turkey. Instead, the United States must use this opportunity to take a harder line against Mr. Assad and his allies,” write Dennis B. Ross and Andrew J. Tabler in the New York Times.

“The battle for Aleppo has always been a microcosm of the Syrian war’s local and international dynamics and balance of power. The regime’s advances are less a result of increased capability rather than a convergence of complex external circumstances. The fortunes of the various belligerents will wax and wane from hereon, but the United States seems guaranteed to lose in the continuing war for Aleppo,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Faysal Itani.