A television channel run by Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside pro-government units, reported that the Syrian army had taken control of areas north of Aleppo. The Observatory said Hezbollah was involved in the battle.
The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said on Monday that government forces aimed to completely surround the city this week in a major offensive against insurgent groups.
In December mainly Islamist insurgent factions in Aleppo grouped together to form Jabhat al-Shamiyya -- the Levant Front -- an attempt at unity among their fighters. Last month the Western-backed rebel group Hazzm movement joined the alliance after coming under pressure from Nusra Front.
Recent Syrian army progress in the area has reduced the chances of a truce between the government and disparate insurgent groups, diplomats say.
As TTG might say, time for a little soldier speak, the SAA might not want to yalk to the people they and HB are defeating?
Well, no s--t pilgrims! Local truces are breaking out all over the country outside the IS controlled areas. The rebel owned parts of Aleppo seem to have been sealed off. Why talk to the rebels? Just starve them out. Aleppo has been besieged many times and that was the usual methodology. pl
"In a separate development on Tuesday, the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr announced he was withdrawing his forces from an umbrella group of Shia militia fighting IS alongside the Iraqi army.
He cited what he called the bad behaviour of other militia within the Popular Mobilisation Forces, whom he accused of 'wreaking havoc through murdering, kidnapping and violating sanctuaries'.
Shia militia have been accused of kidnapping and killing scores of Sunni civilians since Islamic State launched an offensive in northern Iraq last June that saw it seize large swathes of the country.
Elsewhere, there are reports at least 35 more Egyptian Christians are feared to have been kidnapped by jihadists in retaliation for air strikes on targets in Libya.
Militants from the Islamic State and Ansar Al-Sharia are understood to have rounded up dozens of farm workers in the wake of bombings by Cairo, it was reported by local media.
The move is believed to be a direct response to strikes by Egyptian warplanes yesterday which came after fanatics released a horrific video showing the beheading of 21 Christians on a beach." Daily Mail
They will kill the 35 as well. IMO the conduct of IS is so far outside the scope of even "normal" jihadism as to make them justifiably subject to the most extreme measures. To some extent I think they are trying to provoke the US into a group of wars that can be used as mobilization propaganda across the world of Islam. Sadly, they will probably succeed because their deeds are so horrific and their stance is so uncompromising that they cannot be ignored. Imagine what will happen when they capture US soldiers. Imagine. pl
"The 21 decapitations pushed Sisi into open action, expanding his battle against Islamist militancy in Libya not long after he appeared to be gaining the upper hand against militants in the Sinai Peninsula who support Islamic State.
On Tuesday, he called for a United Nations resolution mandating a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to intervene in Libya.
Ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday on the situation in Libya, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri met on Tuesday with ambassadors from the council's five veto-wielding powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Since the fall of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, a number of Islamist movements have taken hold in Libya. Recently, some have declared ties to Islamic State and claimed high-profile attacks in what appears to be an intensifying campaign."
Libya has proven itself incapable of self stabilization. IMO there will be no choice but for a UN sponsored force to occupy Libya. pl