Multiple reports have confirmed that the Syrian army and its allies have successfully taken the strategic town of Khanaser, the key to controlling the main supply route to Aleppo.
Who controls the road is less clear. As we reported earlier this week, ISIS launched a surprise (and somewhat desperate) attack on the crucial supply route in an attempt to stop the Syrian army’s rapid advance. A map from February 25 shows how ISIS attempted to drive a wedge through the Syrian army:
But according to the most recent reports, the SAA and its allies have pushed ISIS off the road — showing that the supply route, while holding tremendous strategic importance, isn’t so easy to defend:
But this is where things become less clear: All available sources confirm that Khanaser is now completely under SAA control, but the situation on the road is somewhat precarious. Another map of the contested area shows that ISIS is losing ground but still clinging to the road:
Because of the difficulty of defending the road, we imagine that the area has become something of a “kill zone”. While sources report that ISIS was able to capture considerable loot during its short-lived control of the Khanaser-Aleppo route, it seems that the operation was a last-ditch attempt to stop the Syrian army from advancing eastward.
The Syrian army’s offensive has also apparently created another “ISIS cauldron”. Do you like your terrorists medium rare, or well done?