Anti-Assad forces can relish a victory, but their stated aspiration to hold the entire city should be taken with a grain of salt.
In the past two days, the rebels coming from Idlib have managed to link up with those besieged in eastern Aleppo. An open corridor in the city's southwest, in the Ramouseh neighborhood, compensates for the rebels' July 28 loss of the Castello Road, which had connected the rebel districts of eastern Aleppo to the outside (see "Kurdish Forces Bolster Assad in Aleppo"). But Russian aircraft are heavily pounding this new crossing, which limits its use by the rebels. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that although some trucks loaded with produce returned to eastern Aleppo to great fanfare on August 7, the food will scarcely change the lives of the area's 250,000 residents. Western Aleppo is faring slightly better: the Syrian army opened a new supply route from the north, along a stretch of the Castello Road. Longer and more dangerous than the preceding exit route and capable of being closed off by a rebel offensive in the northwest, the road nonetheless provides reassurance to the 800,000 civilians who reside in western Aleppo.