Syria Forecast, Nov 13: A Regime Offensive in Aleppo?
ALSO IN WEDNESDAY FORECAST
Snapshot: The Importance of Private Support of the Insurgency
Chatter is rising about an offensive by President Assad’s forces to re-take parts if Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, after a stalemate of 16 months.
The talk has been fuelled by regime victories in the last month, such as the capture of the town of as-Safira to the east of Aleppo.
Mohammad Nour of Shaam News Network said areas such as the eastern district of Hanano are now vulnerable.
“Regime forces aided by Hezbollah, the Iraqis and the Iranians have launched a pincer movement from the north and the east and are closing in on major neighborhoods,” he said.
Activists said Assad’s forces backed by tanks had taken two highrise buildings in the northern Ashrafieh and Bani Zeid districts, and advanced into the two neighborhoods after close-quarter street fighting.
The leading insurgent faction Liwa al-Tawhid Brigades sent reinforcements to the eastern al-Naqqarin district after Assad’s forces and their militia allies penetrated the area, opposition sources said.
Claimed footage of reinforcements heading to Aleppo:
Ahrar ash-Sham Propaganda Video Shows “Weekly Victories” (English)
Islamist insurgent faction Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham have published a Weekly Bulletin video showing off the most important achievements of the group in the past week. These include providing humanitarian aid to prisoners in the Aleppo Central Prison, as well as military victories. The video has an English voice-over.
Snapshot: The Importance of Private Support of Insurgents
The New York Times offers a snapshot supporting our analysis that private money from the Gulf States is significant in support of insurgent groups:
The money flows in via bank transfer or is delivered in bags or pockets bulging with cash. Working from his sparely furnished sitting room here, Ghanim al-Mteiri gathers the funds and transports them to Syria for the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Mteiri — one of dozens of Kuwaitis who openly raise money to arm the opposition — has helped turn this tiny, oil-rich Persian Gulf state into a virtual Western Union outlet for Syria’s rebels….
One Kuwait-based effort raised money to equip 12,000 rebel fighters for $2,500 each. Another campaign, run by a Saudi sheikh based in Syria and close to Al Qaeda, is called “Wage Jihad With Your Money.” Donors earn “silver status” by giving $175 for 50 sniper bullets, or “gold status” by giving twice as much for eight mortar rounds.
The article leaves a key question unanswered, however: to what extent are the private activities supported by the Governments & regimes of the Gulf States?