According to new reports, 80,000 pro-government troops are getting ready to storm Aleppo — a city carved up into areas controlled by rebels and the government. A Syrian security source said the raid would start “in the coming hours or days”. This may be one of the biggest army offensives of the three-year conflict which has already claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 Syrians. The planned assault on Aleppo aims to drive back Syrian opposition fighters who have been in control of the country’s largest city.
Opposition activists in the the largest city of war-torn Syria have told the BBC that military reinforcements, including Hezbollah fighters, had been sent to parts of Aleppo. In a report by UK-based Sunday Times, a Hezbollah commander said:
The battle for Aleppo will be fought by the NDF (Syria’s National Defense Force) and the Syrian army, with Hezbollah supervising and providing military tactical advice on how to coordinate and conduct the offensive. It will consist mainly of commanders and experts advising and planning together with the Syrian army’s commanders in charge of Aleppo, on how best to utilize the men on the ground, how to advance and where to fight.
Fighters belonging to Syria’s National Defense Force (NDF) have been taught “to fight street by street.” The fighters were also trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the newspaper added.The commander on Sunday said Hezbollah will not deploy its fighters in Aleppo, but will only provide tactical support for forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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Earlier this month, Assad forces regained control over the strategic town of Qusayr in Homs with the help of Hezbollah’s militia. If this raid proves successful, this could be another major win for President al-Assad. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition is waiting to receive the weapons promised by the United States.