It’s been kind of a week, you know? But don’t go anywhere yet, because something crazy seems to have happened just outside of Aleppo:
This is the defense factory at Safira, south of Aleppo, which is a major production facility for Bashar al-Assad’s infamous barrel bombs and which could still house some leftover chemical weapons if Assad tried to hang on to some back when he was supposed to be turning them all over for destruction. It’s not clear what happened (Hezbollah is reportedly calling it a “technical error,” but who knows), but whatever caused the explosion it was powerful enough to be felt 100 kilometers away and to be seen from clear over on the opposite side of Aleppo (which is kind of a big city).
Despite a lot of talk about ceasefires, fighting around Aleppo has been pretty active for the past couple of weeks, with Assad’s forces trying to encircle the city and the rebels desperately trying to hang on because, if they lose Aleppo, the overall picture for the rebellion looks much less promising. People trapped inside the city are running out of basics like food and medicine. Obviously it’s too early to say whether this whatever-it-is at the defense facility will impact Assad’s Aleppo offensive (it’s too early to even say what happened or how much damage was done), but if this impacts his ability to bomb rebel-held parts of the city that could be significant.