Battle of Aleppo (2012–present)
|Battle of Aleppo
|Part of the Syrian Civil War|
The situation in Aleppo, as of 15 June 2015
Syrian Army control Opposition control Kurdish control Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantOngoing confrontation or unclear situation
|Commanders and leaders|
|Formerly Abdel-Jabbar Ukaidi
(FSA Aleppo top commander)
(FSA Aleppo deputy commander)
Abdul Qader Saleh †
(Al-Tawhid Brigade top commander)
Yusef al-Jader †
Yussef Al-Abbas †
Khaled Hayani †
(16th Division [FSA] (Shuhada Badr) military commander)
Ebu Mohammed Suleiman
(Sultan Abdulhamid Han Brigade) Abu Mohammad (Kata ib-Essalam)
(Army of Mujahedeen)
Abu Khalid al-Suri †
Abdulrahman al-Salameh (Al-Nusra Front)
Sewsen Bîrhat  (YPJ commander)
Ali Abdullah Ayyoub
(Haidar al-Karar Brigades leader)
Elements of: 1st Corps:
22,665 overall deaths in the whole province (by late March 2015)
The Battle of Aleppo (Arabic: معركة حلب) is an ongoing military confrontation in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, between the Free Syrian Army, Islamic Front, People's Defence Units and Sunni militants against the Syrian government, Hezbollah and Shiite militants. The battle began on 19 July 2012 as a part of the Syrian Civil War. The battle's scale and importance led combatants to name it the "mother of battles". The battle has been highly noted for the Syrian army's indiscriminate use of barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, killing thousands. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to evacuate. On the other hand, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights denounced the Free Syrian Army for the indiscriminate bombardment of government-held districts, with gas cylinders filled with explosives, which resulted in hundreds of casualties. The battle has also caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- 1 Onset
- 2 Combatants
- 3 Course of the Battle
- 4 Strategic analysis
- 5 Reactions
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Aleppo in July 2012, nationwide protests against the government led by President Assad had occurred since 15 March 2011 as part of the larger Arab Spring. The inhabitants of Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, initially remained largely uninvolved. As well as opposition protests, government organized rallies in support of the government were held.
Fighting in Aleppo governorate began on 10 February 2012. Over the next five months, major clashes left large parts of the rural countryside under rebel control, while the provincial capital, Aleppo city, remained firmly under government control. On 19 July 2012, rebel forces stormed the city and the battle for Aleppo began.
At the beginning of the Battle of Aleppo, rebels reportedly fielded between 6,000 and 7,000 fighters within 18 battalions. The largest was the al-Tawhid Brigade. The most prominent was the Free Syrian Army, largely composed of army defectors. Most rebels hailed from the Aleppo countryside, from towns such as Al-Bab, Marea, Azaz, Tel Rifaat and Manbij. However, a resident reportedly accused the rebels of using civilian homes as shelter. On 19 November 2012, the rebel fighters initially rejected the newly formed Syrian National Coalition, most notably the al-Tawhid Brigade and the al-Nusra Front. The next day the rebels withdrew their rejection.
Looting for supplies became a common occurrence among rebel fighters by December, switching their loyalties to groups who had more to share. This new approach led to incidents such as the killing of at least one rebel commander following a dispute, the loss of a frontline position due to fighters retreating with their loot and the failure of an attack on a Kurdish neighborhood. The looting cost the fighters significant popular support.
Islamic extremists and foreign fighters joined the fight. Many of them were experienced and came from the ongoing insurgency in neighboring Iraq. Jihadists reportedly came from across the Muslim World. Jacques Bérès, a French surgeon who treated wounded fighters, reported a significant number of foreign fighters, most with Islamist goals and were not directly interested in Bashar al-Assad. They included Libyans, Chechens and Frenchmen. He said this was in stark contrast to Idlib and Homs, where foreign forces were not common. Some FSA brigades cooperated with Mujahideen fighters.
The government retained support in Aleppo. A rebel commander stated that "around 70% of Aleppo city is with the regime". However, during the course of the battle, Assad lost support from Aleppo's wealthy class. CBS News reported that 48 elite businessmen who were the primary financiers for the government switched sides. For the first time, the Syrian Army engaged in urban warfare. They divided their forces into groups of 40 soldiers each. The soldiers were mostly armed with automatic rifles and anti-tank rockets. Artillery, tanks and helicopters are used only as a support. In August the Army deployed its elite units. Eventually, after the rebels executed Shabiha and Zeino al-Berri (tribal leader of the al-Berri tribe) the tribe joined the fight against the rebels. The Christians supported the Army and formed militias aligned with the government following the capture of their quarters by the Syrian Army. The (Christian) Armenians also support the Syrian Army. Aleppo's Armenians claim that Turkey supported the FSA in order to attack Armenians and Arab Christians, the Armenians have a militia with around 150 fighters.
At the beginning Aleppo's Kurds formed armed groups, most notably the Kurdish Salahaddin Brigade. The brigade worked with the opposition, while the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) had poor relations with both sides. The PYD's Popular Protection Committees stayed out of Arab areas and insisted that the FSA stay out of the Kurdish area. They initially did not fight the Syrian Army unless attacked, but later joined the opposition against pro-Assad forces. The Kurdish areas in Aleppo were mainly under PYD control. Four hundred Turkmen joined the battle under Sultan Abdulhamid Han.
Course of the Battle
2012 – Initial rebel attack and capture of Eastern Aleppo
Gunfire between rebels and security forces broke out on the night of 19 July 2012 in and around Salaheddine, a district in the city's southwest portion. It is unclear whether the district had a strong rebel presence before the battle began, or was captured by opposition fighters coming from the outskirts. Meanwhile, thousands of rebel soldiers from Aleppo's northern and eastern countryside began to move towards the city.
By early August, the rebels had captured the eastern half of the city, while Kurdish forces seized a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Aleppo. However, a stalemate soon ensued with government forces remaining in control of the western half of Aleppo. By the close of 2012 the rebel groups were in a relatively strong position in Aleppo, with other rebel forces having captured Maarat-al-Numaan in Idlib province, thus cutting the main supply route to Aleppo and effectively placing government troops there under siege, leaving them dependent on aerial re-supply from the Syrian Air Force.
2013 – Advances and counter-advances
In July 2013, the rebels captured the town of Khan al-Assal at the southwestern entrance to Aleppo. During the capture, radical jihadists conducted a massacre of government prisoners of war leaving between 50 and 125 people dead. Also, in August, to the north of Aleppo, rebel forces defeated the besieged garrison of soldiers at Menagh Air Base, thus removing a major airfield from which the Syrian Air Force had launched sorties to bomb rebel positions in Aleppo.
However, in the autumn of 2013 government forces began to make slow advances in the Battle of Aleppo. Assisted by the entrance of Hezbollah forces into the Syrian Civil War, and acquisition of Russian arms, the military launched a major offensive in October 2013, and were able to open a new supply route to Aleppo. This resulted in the lifting of the siege that had been maintained by the rebel groups for 12 months. Despite this defeat, the rebels continued to offer strong resistance. By the close of 2013, the situation in the city itself was still at a stalemate, with neither of the forces able to deliver a knock-out blow to the opposing side.
2014 – Government encirclement of the rebels
Government forces, having lifted the siege of Aleppo in October 2013, continued their offensive in 2014, culminating in the capture of the Sheikh Najjar industrial district to the north of Aleppo and lifting the siege of Aleppo Central Prison on 22 May 2014, which contained a garrison of government soldiers that had resisted rebel forces since 2012.
Towards the end of the year, government forces captured the villages of Handarat and Sifat, Handarat hill and the Breij and al-Mallah areas, bringing them within a few hundred meters of surrounding Aleppo.
2015 – War of Attrition
In early January, the rebels recaptured the Majbal (Sawmills) area of al-Brej, captured the southern entrance of the stone quarries known as al-Misat, forcing government troops to retreat to the north, and managed to seize the Manasher al-Brej area. They also tried to advance and take control over al-Brej Hill with which they could seize the military supply road from the Aleppo Central Prison to the Handarat and al-Mallah areas. At the end of January, the rebels took control over some positions in al-Brej Hill.
In mid-February, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies launched a major offensive in the northern Aleppo countryside, with the aim of cutting the last rebel supply routes into the city, as well as relieving the rebel siege of the Shi'a-majority towns of Zahra'a and Nubl to the north-west of Aleppo. They quickly captured several villages; however, bad weather conditions and an inability to call up reinforcements ultimately stalled the government offensive. A few days later, rebels launched a counter-offensive, retaking two out of four positions lost to government forces.
On 4 March, opposition forces blew up a tunnel near the Air Force Intelligence building, following up with an assault to capture the position. The blast caused a 2.3 tremor registered by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre. The attack ultimately failed.
On 9 March, opposition forces launched an assault on Handarat, north of Aleppo, after reportedly noticing confusion in the ranks of government troops after the February fighting. It was initially reported that opposition forces captured Handarat, north of Aleppo. However, later it was reported by opposition sources the rebels managed to capture only 40–50% of the village, while the Army remained in control of the northern portion of Handarat. A military source stated they still controlled 80% of Handarat, while a rebel field commander claimed that opposition forces controlled 75%.
In preparation for a new offensive, the rebels heavily shelled government-held parts of the city, leaving 43 civilians dead and 190 wounded on 15 June. On 17 June, rebel forces captured the western neighborhood of Rashideen from government forces, and the day after, they also claimed to had pushed into the large Kurdish community of Khaldiyeh. State TV, however, denied both losses, and said the situation was relatively calm. The pro-opposition SOHR group confirmed only the rebel capture of Rashideen and that there was fighting in the outskirts of Khaldiyeh. The rebels also captured Tal Al-Afghani hill, near Bashkoy, north of the city. However, government troops recaptured the hill on 19 June. Throughout 19 and 20 June, a new round of rebel shelling killed 19 more civilians. The latest rebel assaults were reportedly the start of a large campaign, but except for mobilizing around the city and making the notable advance in Rashideen, the rebels had still not made major progress.
On 25 June, after two years of fighting, rebels claimed to control Layramoun Square, and at the same time, managed to capture government barracks northwest of the city.
On 2 July, a major offensive was launched by two rebel coalitions, Fatah Halab and Ansar Sharia, the latter of which includes the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, with fighting reportedly focused on the Jamiyat al-Zahra frontline.
Rebel forces expanded to the countryside south of Aleppo to control sections of the M4 and M5 highway, effectively blocking ground reinforcements for the Syrian Army. Before the end of 2012, the Syrian army in Aleppo was receiving sporadic supplies and ammo replenishment by air or dangerous backroads. The fall of Base 46, a large complex in the area which reinforced and supplied government troops, was seen by experts as "a tactical turning point that may lead to a strategic shift" in the battle for Aleppo. In a November 2012 intelligence report, Stratfor described the strategic position of government forces in Aleppo as "dire", with the Free Syrian Army having them "essentially surrounded".
On 26 November 2012, rebels captured Tishrin Dam, further isolating government forces in Aleppo with only one route into Aleppo remaining. By late January 2013 Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil admitted that all supply routes to Aleppo had been cut off by opposition forces, comparing the situation to the Siege of Leningrad. By late February 2013, the Aleppo international airport was almost totally surrounded by rebel forces. Later, the Syrian army regained control of the strategic Tel Sheigeb town allowing them to approach the airport. In November 2013, the Syrian army retook the town of al-Safira. This opened a road for the government to support the besieged Kuweires Military Airbase and Aleppo Power Plant.
In February 2014, it was reported that the army planned to encircle Aleppo and impose a mix of blockades and truces, as well as attempt to recapture the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City in order to rebuild the economy and provide jobs. As of October 2014, the army seized Sheikh Najjar, reinforced Aleppo Central Prison and captured Handaraat, thereby coming close to imposing a siege on rebel-held Aleppo. This would be a difficult task, as Aleppo presents more logistical challenges for the army, especially for pro-government groups such as Hezbollah, who prefer fighting closer to Lebanon. Tensions came to a head in early April 2014, when a Syrian Republican Guard officer allegedly murdered a Hezbollah commander during an argument over the opposition advance in al-Rashadin, and other pro-government militant groups sent as reinforcements, such as the National Defence Force, proved unreliable in combat. Second, rebels control more terrain in Aleppo than in other cities, so effectively cutting off access was more difficult. Third, rebels have a strong presence in the countryside and around the border crossings with Turkey. In April 2014 government commanders inside the city were saying that on the contrary to implementing such a strategy, "the best [they] can do in Aleppo is just secure ... positions". The attempted encirclement involves the SAA’s attacks on Bustan Al-Pasha, Khalidiyyeh, the farms of Mazra’a Halabi, Al-Amariyya and Bustan Al-Qaseer. The rebel's strategic victory at the Siege of Wadi Deif has resulted in several main government supply lines being threatened. This has cast doubt on government forces' ambitions to control the road extending from Hama to Aleppo and the Damascus-Aleppo international road, and has been seen as a personal defeat for Syrian Arab Army Col. Suheil Al Hassan.
United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura proposed a pause in fighting, but opinions were divided about implementation. The European Union has warned that "cases of forced surrender imposed by the Assad regime through starvation sieges were labelled fallaciously as local cease-fires in the past". The Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army, which has been gaining ground in Deraa province south of Damascus has warned that a freeze in fighting in Aleppo could hamper their advance, as pro-Assad forces could be redirected from Aleppo.
The governments defeat at the Second Battle of Idlib in late March 2015, which helped expand the influence of the al-Nusra Front, forced ISIL to expand its attacks in central Syria, after it failed to block the Raqqa highway that branches out to the Syrian army's main supply route to Aleppo along the Khanasir-Athriya road. ISIL's aim would potentially be to establish the necessary conditions to eventually make an assault against Idlib and al-Nusra. The March–April ISIS offensive in central Syria led some volunteers defending the Homs-Aleppo highway to consider deserting to defend their hometowns. According to Jane's Information Group, a possible offensive on Homs by both al-Nusra Front and ISIS, working independently, would potentially force the government to move critical forces away from Aleppo to defend key supply routes. After additional opposition gains during the 2015 Jisr al-Shughur offensive, Jane's further asserted that it was no longer possible for the SAA to properly reinforce Aleppo leaving their forces vulnerable to any opposition or ISIS offensive on the city. If opposition forces decided to capitalise on their gains and launch an assault towards Latakia, the prospect of soldiers deserting was raised, in case they were not redeployed back to defend it, so they could themselves defend their homes against any potential rebel advance. Syrian government minister Faisal Mekdad stated in June 2015: "All our strategic planning now is to keep the way open to Aleppo, to allow our forces to defend it.”
- Syria – President Bashar al-Assad said on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the Syrian Arab Army in August 2012, that "the army is engaged in a crucial and heroic battle... on which the destiny of the nation and its people rests..."
- Armenia – Armenia began sending humanitarian aid to Aleppo in mid-October. The aid is distributed by Red Crescent, the Armenian National Prelacy in Aleppo, Aleppo Emergency unit and the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Syria. Governor of the Aleppo Governorate, Hilal Hial, said, "the Syrian people highly appreciate this humanitarian gesture of the Armenian people, underling the strong Syrian-Armenian cooperation."
- France – The French Foreign Ministry said, "With the build-up of heavy weapons around Aleppo, Assad is preparing to carry out a fresh slaughter of his own people", while Italy and the UN peacekeeping chief also accused the government of preparing to massacre civilians.
- Iran – As the battle of Aleppo started, Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, met with Assad in Damascus and vowed that Iran would help Assad to confront "attempts at blatant foreign interference" in Syria's internal affairs, declaring, "Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way."
- Russia – The Russian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement condemning the bombing that occurred on 9 September 2012 in which more than 30 people were killed. "We firmly condemn the terrorist acts which claim the lives of innocent people", stated the Ministry on 11 September. The Foreign Ministry also called the foreign powers to pressure the armed opposition to halt launching "terrorist attacks". The Russian Consulate General in Aleppo "suspended operations" on 16 January 2013.
- Turkey – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged international action, saying it was not possible "to remain a spectator" to the government offensive on Aleppo. Reuters reported that Turkey had set up a base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the purpose of directing military and communications aid to the Free Syrian Army from the city of Adana. Reuters also quoted a Doha-based source which stated that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were providing weapons and training to the rebel fighters.
- United Kingdom – William Hague, the British Foreign Minister, said, "the world must speak out to avert a massacre in Aleppo."
- United States – The United States stated it that feared a new massacre in Aleppo by the Syrian government: "This is the concern: that we will see a massacre in Aleppo and that's what the regime appears to be lining up for." The United States condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the government SCUD missile strikes on Aleppo in late February 2013, saying that they were "the latest of the Syrian regime's ruthlessness and its lack of compassion for the Syrian people it claims to represent".
- Battle of Damascus (2012)
- Siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa
- Rif Dimashq Governorate campaign
- Siege of Kobanî
- "Infographic: “Fatah Halab” Military Operations Room – Coalition of 31 Rebel factions". Archicivilians. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- "The Levant Front: Can Aleppo’s Rebels Unite?". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 26 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "BosnoSinj on Twitter". Twitter.
- "Syrian Rebellion Obs on Twitter". Twitter.
- "Free Syrian Army 46th Division Announces they will head to Aleppo : syriancivilwar". reddit.
- "Thomas van Linge on Twitter". Twitter.
- "Rebel and Islamist groups form (another) op room "Ansar Al-Shariah" to take Aleppo city and its countryside". Reddit. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- Alessandria Masi (9 March 2015). "Aleppo Battle: Al Qaeda's Jabhat Al-Nusra Is Friend To Syrian Rebel Groups". International Business Times.
- "Kurdish militia decides to align with Syria rebels". AFP-Jiji. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "Aleppo: New Group of YPG/YPJ Fighters Graduated from Training Course". YPG Rojava. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Militias form as Aleppo clashes stalemate". UPI. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Inside Syria: Aleppo's Christians arm against Islamists". GlobalPost. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Sherlock, Ruth; Malouf, Carol (13 September 2012). "Christians take up arms in Aleppo". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- Edward Dark Columnist . "Syrian Baath militia commander goes rags-to-riches – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Pro-regime Sunni fighters in Aleppo defy sectarian narrative". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "لواء القدس .. القوة الأكبر للنظام في معارك حلب". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Kat Iskander (1 August 2012). "Syria rebels to target intel, as Assad hails army". The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Anita McNaught (1 August 2012). "Syrian MP killed publicly by FSA firing squad". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- Kozak, Christopher (26 May 2015). "The Regime's Military Capabilities: Part 2". ISW. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
IRGC ‘Basij’ commander General Jabbar Drisawi was killed on the Handarat front north of Aleppo city five months later on October 16, 2014.
- Loveday Morris (3 June 2013). "In Syria, Hezbollah forces mass around Aleppo to aid Assad". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- Philip Smyth (February 2015). The Shiite Jihad in Syria and Its Regional Effects (PDF) (Report). The Washington Institute for Near East Studies. p. 45. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Omar al-Jaffal. "Iraqi Shiites Join Syria War". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "Battle rages in Aleppo as Russia urges Syria unity". Daily Star. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Clashes, shelling in Aleppo and Damascus: activists". Daily Star. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Shells rock rebel bastions in Damascus". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Peel, Michael (30 September 2012). "Historic souk burns in battle for Aleppo". Ft.com. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Syrian rebels claim control of strategic town". Al Jazeera. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Competing Groups Vie for Control of Syria". Stratfor. December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
- "Syria Blog". AJE Live Events. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Syrian Army Ends Opposition Siege on Aleppo". Al Akhbar English. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Syrian army retakes northern military base in third day of clashes Reuters, 10 November 2013
- "Syrian army to impose blockade in Aleppo". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "ISIS driven out of Aleppo". ABCnews. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Aleppo in second week of blackout aimed at limiting barrel bombs". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Syrian Troops Reach Besieged Prison In Aleppo[dead link]
- "Government Troops Advance in Syria's Largest City". abcnews. Retrieved Jul 7, 2014.
- "Syrian army clashes with rebels in Aleppo, regains full control of Handarat". Al Akhbar English. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Syrian army makes rapid advance north of Aleppo - monitor". Reuters UK.
- sohranas. "The government troops still advance in the countryside of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
- White, Jeffrey (28 May 2015). "The Crisis of the Assad Regime". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Chulov, Martin; Shaheen, Kareem (27 April 2015). "Syrian rebels hail fall of Jisr al-Shughour as sign of growing strength". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "Syrian army takes control of strategic village north of Aleppo". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- Syrian top rebel commander announces resignation Daily Star, 3 November 2013
- Van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (13 August 2012). "Kurdish Militias Help Out Syrian Rebels in Aleppo". Retrieved 9 September 2012.[dead link]
- "Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds". Reuters. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Solomon, Erica; Karouny, Mariam; Heavens, Andrew (28 September 2012). "Syria rebels struggle to advance in Aleppo offensive". Reuters. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- AFP (15 December 2012). "Key rebel commander killed in Syria's Aleppo". Syria (NOW). Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Syria air strike hits Islamist brigade leadership Al Ahram (AFP), 15 November 2013
- "Syrian Rebellion Obs on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Syrian Turkmen fighting for better future". TimeTurk. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Bedard, Marie-Eve (7 December 2012). "Free Syrian Army an uneasy mix of religious extremes". CBC News. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Syria: Army of the Mujahideen Challenges ISIS Gains". Al Akhbar. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- Kim Sengupta (31 July 2012). "The people who live on Aleppo's fiercest frontline have fled. Only the fighters remain". London: Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Top al-Qaida operative killed in Syria suicide blast". 24News. 23 February 2014.
- Spencer, Richard (16 August 2012). "British convert to Islam vows to fight to the death on Syrian rebel front line". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Syria’s Kurds: Civil Wars Within a Civil War Time, 5 November 2012
- "Barrel bombings cause mass evacuation in east Aleppo". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Syrian strikes on Aleppo 'kill dozens'". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Third day of fighting at Syria-Turkey border crossing". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Progress of the Brigades and the Islamic victory in Aleppo and killed the commander of the Republican Guard". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Faouzi Ayoub, Lebanese-Canadian terror suspect, reportedly killed in Syria". CBC News. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "Emboldened Syrian rebels push into Aleppo". USA Today. 22 July 2012.
- "INSIGHT-Syria rebels see future fight with foreign radicals". Reuters. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Clarissa Ward (26 July 2012). "Syria rebel leader says his men are ready to take on Assad's forces in fight for Aleppo". CBS News. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "The Battle for Aleppo: rebels, regime, refugees inside Syria". Alaska Dispatch. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Battered Syrian Rebels Cede Aleppo's Salaheddin District to Assad Military". Thedailybeast.com. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Rebels fighting against al-Assad rule fragmented, disorganized in Syria" (PDF). Hürriyet Daily News. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Syria rebels withdraw totally from Aleppo district". Arab News. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Syria crisis: Rebels lose key district of Aleppo". BBC. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Syrian rebels lose key Aleppo district". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Holmes, Oliver (10 September 2012). "Video shows 20 Syrian soldiers believed executed". Reuters. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Outsiders Bogged Down in Protracted Battle for Aleppo". Naharnet.com. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Rebels Worth Supporting: Syria's Harakat Hazm". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "The Moderate Rebels: A Complete and Growing List of Vetted Groups". Democratic Revolution, Syrian Style. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "The Syrian Islamic Front: A New Extremist Force". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "Chechen commander leads Muhajireen Brigade in Syria". Long War Journal. 20 February 2013.
- Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (11 May 2014). "Key Updates on Iraq’s Sunni Insurgent Groups". Brown Moses Blog. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Abu Ahmad al-Maghrebi (Ibrahim Bencheqroun), un vétéran du Jihad mort en Syrie" [Jihad veteran killed in Syria]. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- Holmes, Oliver (2 October 2012). "Syria's Assad tours Aleppo, orders more troops into battle,". Reuters.com. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Martin Chulov (5 August 2012). "Aleppo rebels wait anxiously for Bashar al-Assad's elite to attack". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Syria Report (7 July 2013). "Report: Maher al-Assad Commanding Homs Assault". Syriareport.net. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Rebels hit army HQ in Aleppo". Reuters. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Syrian Airline Cancels Flight to Aleppo". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ignatius, David (30 November 2012). "Al-Qaeda affiliate playing larger role in Syria rebellion". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Spencer, Richard (16 August 2012). "British convert to Islam vows to fight to the death on Syrian rebel front line". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Clinton visits Turkey for Syria talks as army pounds rebels in Aleppo". Al Arabiya. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Syrian army starts "purging" Aleppo from "Jihadists", minister pledges to eradicate terrorism". newstrackindia.com. Asian News International. 29 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Richard Galpin (5 August 2012). "Syria conflict: Troops 'mass for Aleppo assault'". BBC. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Siddique, Haroon (29 July 2012). "Syria: Battle for Aleppo – live updates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Morris, Loveday (2 June 2013). "In Syria, Hezbollah forces appear ready to attack rebels in city of Aleppo". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
Matthew Weaver (3 June 2013). "Syrian rebels fight Hezbollah in Lebanon". London: Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
"4,000 Hezbollah fighters reach rebel-held Aleppo: FSA". The Daily Star. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- "The extent of the suffering". Pomegranate (Economist). 2 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Violations Documenting Center". Violations Documenting Center. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Luke Harding and Martin Chulov (22 July 2012). "Syrian rebels fight Assad troops in Aleppo". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- McElroy, Damien (28 July 2012). "Badly armed rebels face tanks as Syria's mother of battles begins". The Telegraph (London).
Hermant, Norman (28 July 2012). "Fears about the 'mother of all battles' for Aleppo". ABC.
- Hauslohner, Abigail; Ramadan, Ahmed (24 December 2013). "Middle East". The Washington Post.
- "Syrian regime kills 78, activists say Anadolu Agency". Aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
- BBC News, 28 April 2014 BBC witnesses devastation of Syrian air bombardment on Aleppo
- http://syriahr.com/en/2014/12/khaled-hyani-shells-killed-and-wounded-no-less-than-900-civilians-in-162-days/. Missing or empty
- "Syrian War Takes Heavy Toll at a Crossroad of Cultures". 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- NYT (17 May 2012) Students Are Assalied at a Protest in Syria
- "Syria: What motivates an Assad supporter?". Global Post. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Martin Chulov (4 August 2012). "War for Aleppo: battle rages in city that will determine fate of Syria". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Matthew Weaver and Brian Whitaker (8 August 2012). "Syria crisis: Assad's new offensive in Aleppo – live updates". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Ivan Watson (26 July 2012). "Battles for key cities of Aleppo, Damascus heat up in Syrian civil war". CNN. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Chulov, Martin (21 August 2012). "Syrian rebels fight on for Aleppo despite local wariness". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Aleppo residents caught in crossfire losing faith in rebels". Daily Star. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Kennedy, Elizabeth (19 November 2012). "Syrian Islamists Reject Western-Backed Opposition". ABC News. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Atassi, Basma (20 November 2012). "Aleppo rebels retract rejection of coalition". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Syrian rebels sidetracked by scramble for spoils of war, The Guardian
- "Jihadists join Aleppo fight, eye Islamic state, surgeon says". Reuters. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Bashar al-Assad Lost The Support of Aleppo's Wealthy When the Shelling Started". The Daily Beast. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Assad's Aleppo backers abandon him, some shift support, cash to rebels in risky gamble". CBS News. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "Assad's man directs battle for Aleppo". The Australian. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Kat, Iskander (1 August 2012). "Syria rebels to target intel, as Assad hails army". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (8 August 2012). "Cold PKK-FSA Truce in Syria". Rudaw. Retrieved 9 September 2012.[dead link]
- "Fierce fighting in Syria's Aleppo:activists". The Daily Star. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Master. "20 soldiers in regime forces killed during clashes in al-Brej area". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- Leith Fadel. "Aleppo: The Battle for Al-Bureijj Intensifies". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- sohranas. "Al- Jabha al- Islameyyi and Jaysho al- Muhajereen wal al- Anasar seize Manasher al- Brej area". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- sohranas. "6 citizens killed in al- Bab, and members on both the Islamic battalions and regime forces die in Aleppo clashes". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- Master. "Violent clashes around Aleppo and its countryside". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- sohranas. "The rebel and Islamic battalions seize al- Misat Hill in the north of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Islamic Front attacks the Syrian Army in northeast Aleppo". Al-Masdar. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- "Syria regime forces launch new Aleppo offensive". Mail Online. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Fierce Fighting Near Aleppo as UN Envoy Pushes Truce in City". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
- "Rebel counter-attack, storms halt Aleppo offensive". The Daily Star. AFP. February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Syrian Rebels Regain Territory Near Aleppo". The New York Times. February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Syria conflict: Blast hits Aleppo intelligence HQ". BBC News. March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- AFP (5 March 2015). "At least 34 regime forces, rebels dead in Aleppo clashes". Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- al-Khatieb, Mohammed (13 March 2015). "Rebels advance in Aleppo". Al Monitor. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "Rebel groups seize land north of Aleppo". The Daily Star. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
A coalition of Syrian rebel and jihadi groups Monday seized the strategic Handarat area north of Aleppo
- "Syria Direct: News Update 3-9-15". Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- "Al-Masdar". Aleppo: Jabhat Al-Nusra Forestalled at southern Handarat. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
- Master. "Regime forces take control on Hendarat village". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Syrian troops fully recapture strategic town". GlobalPost. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Syrian army takes control of strategic village north of Aleppo". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Rebel shelling kills dozens in Syria's Aleppo". Al Jazeera English.
- "Rebel fighters advance in Syria's Aleppo". Al Jazeera English. 18 June 2015.
- Master. "Rebel and Islamic battalions take control on al-Rashdin area in Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
- sohranas. "10 civilians die in new shelling on the city of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
- Leith Fadel. "Syrian Army Recovers Lost Territory in North Aleppo". Al-Masdar News.
- edward. "The regime forces re-advance in the northern countryside and shells target areas in it". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
- Sputnik (19 June 2015). "New Rebel Shelling of Syrian City Aleppo Kills 10 Civilians - Monitor". sputniknews.com.
- Master. "Shells kill 9 civilians in Aleppo city, clashes continue around the city". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights.
- "Syrian rebels set eyes on divided Aleppo". Reuters. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "ISIL re-enters Syrian Kurdish town Kobane". Al Jazeera English. 25 June 2015.
- "Syria military resists major rebel assault in Aleppo". BBC News.
- "Syrian Islamist insurgents launch battle to seize government-held Aleppo". Reuters.
- Dominic Evans (2 November 2012), Syrian army quits base on strategic Aleppo road, Reuters News Service
- Associated Press (20 November 2012) AP Exclusive: Syrian rebels seize base, arms trove
- Stratfor (21 November 2012) Recent Rebel Gains in Syria
- "Syrian Rebels Seize Major Dam in North " VOA Breaking News". Blogs.voanews.com. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Aleppo like Leningrad under siege – Syrian Dep. PM". RIA. 29 January 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Surk, Barbara (23 February 2013). "Battle for Syria's Aleppo airport intensifies". Washington Times. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
"Syria rebels seize key checkpoint near Aleppo airport: NGO". NDTV.com. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
"Syrian rebels push offensive for major airport". The Daily Star. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- "Syria army seizes key Aleppo airport road". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
Evans, Dominic (1 March 2013). "Assad forces take Aleppo village, reopening supply line". Reuters. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- "Syrian army captures strategic town at approaches to Aleppo". Reuters. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Syrian army to impose blockade in Aleppo". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Tensions Grow Between Hezbollah and the Syrian Regime". Stratfor. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- "Aleppo: Syria's Stalingrad?". The National Interest. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "West Aleppo faces unending assault". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "The Siege of Aleppo?". Institute for the Study of War. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- "Aleppo Now A De Facto 'Partition City' In Syria". NPR. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- Leith Fadel. "Aleppo Battle Map: SAA Prepares to Envelop the City". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Soloman, Ericka (December 16, 2014). "Assad army bases fall to al-Qaeda allies". Financial Times. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- al-Haj, Mustafa (December 19, 2014). "Jabhat al-Nusra deals Syrian regime major blow in Idlib". Al-Monitor. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- "UN's Aleppo ceasefire plan hangs in balance". Al Jazeera. December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.[dead link]
- "Syria conflict: Rebels capture key Idlib army bases". BBC News. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Ghattas, Kim (December 9, 2014). "Syria war: Southern rebels see US as key to success". BBC News. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- "IS' Hama incursion threatens Nusra's gains". Al Monitor. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "ISIS Said to Step Up Offensive in Syria". The New York Times. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Abi Ali, Firas (12 April 2015). "Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State's attempts at cutting Damascus-Homs highway would threaten Assad's control of Syria". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Abi Ali, Firas (27 April 2015). "Syrian opposition success in Idlib province likely to threaten Aleppo, Latakia, and Assad's hold on power". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
Aleppo has been reduced to symbolic importance [...] The government is no longer able to reinforce its positions in Aleppo. As such, it cannot prevent its fall should the Islamist opposition or the Islamic State launch a major offensive against it [...] It would also increase the incentive for Alawite fighters and officers to abandon locations such as Aleppo and southern Syria and retreat to defend their home towns.
- Fisk, Robert (12 June 2015). "Syrian civil war: Can Assad's regime survive the onslaught from Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra?". The Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
- "Syria army in 'crucial and heroic battle', says Bashar al-Assad". The Daily Telegraph (London). 1 August 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- "Armenian Humanitarian Aircraft Lands in Aleppo". Turkish Weekly. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "The Governor of Aleppo and al-Baath Arab Socialist Party expressed their gratitude to the Armenians for the humanitarian aid". Armenpress. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Red Cross to pull some staff out of Syria as world powers fear Aleppo 'slaughter'". Al Arabiya. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Babak Dehghanpisheh and Liz Sly (7 August 2012). "Iran pledges support for Syria as battle rages for Aleppo". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- "Russia Condemns Terrorist Acts in Aleppo, Calls for Immediate Halt of Violence". Syrian Arab News Agency. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Moscow suspends consular operations in Aleppo". Edition.cnn.com. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "World cannot 'remain spectators' over Aleppo: Turkish PM". Al Jazeera. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Regan Doherty and Amena Bakr (29 July 2012). "Secret Turkish nerve center leads aid to Syria rebels". Reuters. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- ""World must speak out to avert a massacre in Aleppo," says UK foreign minister.". Al Jazeera. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "US fears Syria planning massacre in Aleppo". Al Jazeera. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "US condemns Syria slaughter". Now.mmedia.me. Retrieved 29 August 2013.