In Northern Syria, Rebel Fighters Show Increased Effectiveness

In Northern Syria, Rebel Fighters Show Increased Effectiveness

AZAAZ, Syria -- As the fighting intensifies between government forces and the opposition Free Syrian Army for control of Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, the rebels are consolidating their hold over large tracts of territory elsewhere in northern Syria.

Azaaz, an important city close to the Turkish border, fell to the FSA on July 19, after a month of heavy fighting. In that battle, government forces had been pushed back to a single compound, where they held out for weeks while the Syrian army tried to relieve them with tank incursions, helicopter gunships attacks and artillery shelling.

Yet rebel forces managed to resist the counterattacks and eventually overrun the compound, liberating the city and opening the road to Turkey. This is in sharp contrast to past battles, where the rebels would mount a show of force in a given neighborhood, but were soon forced to retreat or melt away after a few days of fighting due to their inability to resist government armor.

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