Opposition fighters in the city of Aleppo are not hiding their concern about fast-moving events on the outskirts of their city and in the northeastern countryside. The progress being made by regime forces and the Islamic State (IS) has become worrisome and extremely dangerous.

A group of activists have gathered in the village of Tal Shaeer to provide support for opposition fighters. Tal Shaeer is the closest rebel foothold to the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City, which fell to regime forces and allied militias on July 5. The activists knew that they might soon be encircled, so they decided to send their best fighters to help prevent it in an operation dubbed the Sword of Aleppo for the People of the Levant.

Not far from the front line with regime forces in Sheikh Najjar, four Free Syrian Army fighters sat under a tree and enjoyed the cool breeze. They looked exhausted after long shifts on guard duty in the intense heat. Momtaz Abu Mohammad, a Sword of Aleppo activist, brought food and cold water to the fighters, who discussed the battlefront. […]