ISW Report on the FSA in Aleppo

REBEL GROUPS IN NORTHERN ALEPPO PROVINCE
Aug 29, 2012 – Jeffrey Bolling
http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/rebel-groups-northern-aleppo-province
http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Backgrounder_RebelGroupsNorthernAleppo.pdf

On August 5, 2012, BBC World News reported over 20,000 Syrian troops massed around Aleppo, ready to move into rebel-occupied districts of the city in what has become one of the largest military operations of the ongoing Syrian conflict. Until recently, rebel activity in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and primary commercial hub, had been largely overshadowed by clashes elsewhere in the country. Despite the overwhelming media attention given to Homs and Damascus, the ongoing showdown between rebel and regime forces in Aleppo City is rooted in the months-old conflict in Aleppo’s northern countryside.

Key Findings

  • Syrian armed opposition groups in the Aleppo countryside have experienced substantial organizational growth in recent months.
  • The emergence of the Tawhid Brigade marks a definitive development in Aleppo’s armed opposition movement: for the first time in the Syrian uprising, a unit has established a province-wide chain of command and is capable of coordinating operations between ideologically diverse battalions in conjunction with a provincial military council.
  • Northern Aleppo rebel organizations have proven their ability to hold territory along the Aleppo-Gaziantep Highway north of Aleppo City, giving them the space to organize large-scale operations against regime garrisons and uncontested access to the Turkish border.

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