If Syrian rebels succeed in breaching an infantry school in Aleppo, they will gain some strategically critical pieces of territory, a windfall of supplies, and possibly a slew of regime defectors.
For more than three weeks now, opposition forces have besieged an infantry school in northern Aleppo that has in excess of 1,000 government forces inside. In recent days, they managed to breach the school and now say it is days away from falling.
“It’s the only spot in northern Aleppo that is not free. Once we have that all of northern Aleppo will be free,” says Haj Omar, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Bab al Salaam Battalion.
The fall of the school will be a significant stride forward for rebels, allowing them access to a more direct route to the Turkish border and capturing supplies critical for continuing their advance against President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Though pockets of government troops remain in the area, since late this summer the Syrian opposition has controlled a bloc of territory in northern Syria's Aleppo province roughly the size of Rhode Island, creating de facto courts, government councils, and police to administer the territory. The area, referred to by many locals as “Free Syria,” remains susceptible to airplane and artillery attacks, but those too have been decreasing in recent months.