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The outcome of military and political developments in Aleppo in the coming months will clarify critical dimensions of the Syria conflict that also reverberate widely across the region.Aleppo now is central to this battle because of the several simultaneous, very significant recent moves by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Syria Conquest Front) to achieve several goals: to seek to expand its rule in Syria by gaining the support of local people rather than by force, to unite the many other rebel groups into a single coordinated military force that could protect civilians from government and foreign attacks, and to unite Islamists, jihadis, Salafists, and others in creating some sort of sovereign system ruled by Islamic dictates.If the Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) military coalition that seems to have been largely coordinated by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Syria Conquest Front) continues to liberate Aleppo and other districts from government control, and somehow succeeds in reducing the pace and ferocity of Syrian/Russian aerial attacks against civilians, or even forces a cease-fire, then something pivotal and historic could occur: the assorted but united and coordinated Islamist, jihadi, Salafist and other nationalist rebel groups in Syria would emerge as the undisputed leaders of the populist rebellion against the Assad government.Aleppo is the central battle in the current war in Syria, a local contest in one corner of the region.
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