Following a failed offensive to break a government military blockade in eastern Aleppo, violent radical groups that previously had closed ranks against Damascus began fighting each other over rapidly diminishing resources, including weapons and advantageous positions in the besieged city.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog group, reported that intense fighting was registered Thursday on the western frontier of the eastern side of Aleppo, the militant-held part of the city, now encircled by Syrian government forces.
According to a spokesperson for Nour al-Din al-Zinki, an Islamist group that is a component of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), militants from Zinki, Abu Amara, and the al-Nusra front jointly attacked the positions of the Fastaqim group, itself also a component of the FSA.
The aim of the attack was to occupy positions and seize arms belonging to the embattled Fastaqim, a Zinki representative detailed, adding that the warring parties have now called a ceasefire, in an attempt to solve sectarian differences.
Last week, the same factions together participated in a massive counter-offensive on the legitimate Syrian army, in a desperate attempt to breach the siege of eastern Aleppo. The ‘bloodbath’ offensive, that occurred during the Russia-brokered two-week humanitarian pause, killed 127 and injured 254 civilians, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The failed offensive turned out to be a catastrophe for the terrorists, as they lost 21 battle tanks, 10 infantry fighting vehicles, six rocket artillery systems, 14 mortar crews, 80 cars with mounted heavy machine guns, as well as 12 bomb-equipped suicide vehicles, according to Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi.
On Wednesday, the Russian military announced that a new 10-hour humanitarian pause would be introduced on Friday to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians and unarmed militants from the city.
The Zinki tribe, deemed to be a moderate group in US military and diplomatic circles, announced that its fighters would not leave the city.
On Friday, the Syrian government implemented the ceasefire on schedule, but the humanitarian corridor, located on Aleppo’s Castello road, was bombed by militants. As a result of the attack, two Russian servicemen were injured. Syrian Al-Mayadin TV has reported that extremists are preventing civilians from leaving the city.