Hezbollah and Shia militias from Iraq and Afghanistan, all directed by senior officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are leading the ground battle on the regime side, while Russian jets continue a week-long blitz from above.
Opposition fighters in Aleppo’s besieged east have said they are counting on the military support of Arab states, which announced they will send ground forces to Syria to save them from defeat at the hands of Russian bombers and pro-Assad militias.
With the war now in a decisive phase, rebel groups said they cannot hold ground without similar weapons and manpower to those of the Assad loyalists who continue to narrow a gap around the north of the city, while thousands more refugees made their way to the Turkish border.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE all committed over the weekend to sending ground forces to join the conflict. However, the extent of their mooted commitments has yet to be confirmed amid sustained pressure from allies, including the US, to keep any deployment largely symbolic.