4 scenarios for Aleppo on 30 June 2015 (2 Jan 2015)

In this article, I try to imagine 4 different scenarios for Aleppo in 6 months. Each scenario is based on one major tactical / strategical hypothesis, such as attitude of the Islamic State toward Loyalists or Rebels. Some scenarios have more or less probability of happening, as for example, it seems difficult for Islamic State to lead a mass attack on Aleppo Rebels or Loyalists given the number of enemies they currently fight in the same time (scenario 2 and 4). Therefore, I would rather think scenario 1 and 3 more likely to happen, but in war time major strategical events can happen, such as new alliance, truces and agreements, internal revolution, leadership changes, and so on, so it is impossible to forecast all possible scenarios. Please fell free to comment the article to say what you think of those forecasts.

Aleppo forecast 30 june 2015 scenario 1

Aleppo forecast 30 june 2015 scenario 2

Aleppo forecast 30 june 2015 scenario 3

Aleppo forecast 30 june 2015 scenario 4

24 thoughts on “4 scenarios for Aleppo on 30 June 2015 (2 Jan 2015)

    • Well I believe Zubl and Zahraa is not very urgent for SAA as the villages are not completely under siege (they can get out and in through Kurdish YPG areas). Meanwhile, securing the situation in Aleppo is more important as it is a heavily populated city and with a very strong economic value. Moreover, a siege of Aleppo would bring an important psychological effect

  1. An important case is missing:

    The Syrian Army moves from Handarat village in north-west direction linking up government terroritory in Aleppo with Nubol and Zahraa.

  2. I’m not that convinced that scenario 3 is very likely. Islamic Front and the SAA are keeping each other occupied. IS may not need a lot of people to keep control. Also territory is not the most important factor for winning in Aleppo. It’s causing casualties/taking prisoners.

    Scenario 1 is the most likely as the SAA could trap 1000’s of Islamic Front fighters.

    If they are forced to surrender the Islamic Front’s offensive capabilities will be broken in and around Aleppo as they are locals rather like the Syrian NDF forces.

    • scenario 3 happens in the case of global collapse for IS. This means IS troops disband or join other troops. It is not likely but possible.
      I agree scenario 1 is more likely

  3. critical to see how YPG reacts in Efrin and Sheyk Maqsood .
    Can’t see how they can keep playing both sides this year , especially if SAA closes in from Handarat.
    Any educated guesses ?

  4. For the last one year the situation between IS and SAA is stable around Aleppo city. The map never changed. IS and SAA could only fight each other to control gas stations and petrol fields located at Palymra and Homs provinces. Hasakah and Deir ez-zor on the other hand, are are both located at strategic supply routes for IS and that’s why they also fight each other at those locations. But occupying Aleppo is not very important for IS. They are fighting and gaining ground at North Aleppo province to control the border with Turkey and secure their recruitment supplies. Moreover it’s unlikely for rebels to prevent the siege of Aleppo city. And i also don’t think that IS will retreat from their current positions. They might only attack at the Kweires Air Base to record propaganda videos. Or at rebel positions as it’s easier to fight with them. So Map 1 or Map 4 is more likely to be drawn.

      • Indeed they progress slowly. They are also robust enough to hold the ground which is liberated before. SAA is the army of legal authority in Syria. It’s not all about Esad. It’s about to end the war and the suffer of the civilians who still keep living between a relentless civil war. It’s about to bring peace and welfare to this land again. So it’s like a football league where one team is only fighting to bring peace and keep up their authority, one team is only fighting to milk the petrol and gas sources, and the rebels (JBN, FSA, JAI, AOM etc.) are fighting (playing) their last relegation matches.

  5. The rebels have pushed back the Saa in the Bureij area. They are also attempting to encore,let the govt part of Aleppo by attacking from the south west and from the centre in a south Westerly axis.Difficult to ascertain their strength, but I think Aleppo is a stalemate or Turning to the rebels on the ground.The poss decisive factor.is the effectiveness of Saaf air power.the attack on nubbol/Zahara seems a strategic mistake. ISIS attack towards Azaz is major threat in the north.

    • The Loyalists strength attitude raise questions. It is strange they have stopped offensive to encircle Aleppo, unless there is a diplomatic factor. I think they are strong in this area, but they need a mementum among allies (Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, ..) in order to keep on advancing. Aleppo is very sensitive bc very populated

    • Sorry for the late reply as I’m travelling abroad currently. Indeed the move was unexpected. It seems iranians strategists have decided to attack there. One explanation I see is that in a psychological war, such victories like lifting Nubl and Zahraa siege has high value, and Loyalists need such victory, even if they have to pay a high price

  6. I doubt the Islamic State will advance in the A’zaz area anymore even if they could. Back in September they launched an offensive and they advanced enough to have Dabiq under their control but they didn’t advance much more. I believe that it was intentional; that they wanted Dabiq to be near the front-line.
    Dabiq is important in Islamic eschatology( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dabiq#In_Islamic_eschatology ) as Dabiq is believed to be the place where one of the most important battles between the Romans(Christians and crusaders by extension) and the Muslims will take place. The battle is supposed to lead to the Last Hour. I believe the Islamic State is making Dabiq a strategic goal for its enemies by keeping it at the front-line. And it’s also doing its best to provoke Western countries into sending armies to counter them. Raging genocide against Yazidies and enslaving them and now abducting Assyrians are just means to that end. All their gruesome videos have been published with the aim of dragging “crusaders” to counter them. They are actively trying to make that prophecy come true. They think if that happens; if they are the Islamic army in a fight that takes place in Dabiq, then all the Islamic world will march behind them as they will be convinced their fight is THE Jihad.

  7. Hey,
    could be great if you could provide a map on 15.06 on current situation.
    I think the main differences will be between green and black fields. Also a scenario that SAA looses Sheik Najjar where they produce loads of rockets/bomba is also impossible.

  8. Well done guys .I think SAA is noticeably taking strong-hold on the battle field especially after the Russian airforce backup.I think we’ll witness a great shift of Entire scenario.I’m looking forward to get back home.we so tired of being refugees!! & Exploited labors for gaining our livelihood!!

  9. I find it very interesting to confront forecasts to what actually happened. A couple of observations:

    – Things took much longer than forecasted to happen, no significant change in Aleppo’s controlled areas between January and June 2015
    – As of today (almost 2 years after the forecast), scenario 1 tuns out to be the closest one, except that SDF/Kurdish as well as loyalist gains have been underestimated.
    – As for the rebels, it’s worth noting that the sole gain achieved is the Euphrate Shield operation, with the Turkish Forces heavy support.

    Thank you and keep up the great work.

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