Courtesy of ISW we have this depiction of the state of play in NW Syria as of 25 January, 2016. IS, Nusra and other jihadi groups have attacked the desert road from Ithriya east and then north through Khanassar north to Aleppo. This is presently the lifeline to all government held forces in the Aleppo area as well as the civilian population of the government held portion of Aleppo City.
The Syria civil war is not going well for rebel forces including the jihadi IS and Nusra. The war is going so badly for the allies of Obama, the Saudis and Erdogan that a diplomatic ploy is now underway to try to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat in the "cease-fire."
Apparently the preparations are nearly complete for a great kesselschlacht in Idlib Governorate. The R+6 forces stand on the heights above Jisr as-Shugur on the west in Lattakia Governorate. R+6 forces stand ready in the countryside west of Aleppo City. R+6 forces are ready to the south in the Homs Governorate. Russian and Syria air have complete air supremacy.
The desert road is merely a distraction at this point. The rebels should be crushed in Idlib and the M5 highway to the south opened to commercial traffic.
To do otherwise is to accept the BS being peddled on the diplomatic scene and a Syria that will eventually be a jihadi state. pl