Battle of Safira
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The Battle of Safira was fought in February 2013, when rebel forces attacked the town of al-Safira, which holds a key position on the Damascus to Aleppo road, where a major battle for the city had been raging for the previous seven months. Al-Safira is also next to important weapon factories and the government's largest chemical weapons stockpiles.
On 6 February 2013, violent clashes took place between Al-Nusra Front and several other rebel battalions and government forces south of Al-Safira city, along with violent bombardment on some areas of the city.
On February 8, 2013, it was reported that government forces were stationed at defense establishments and had set up checkpoints on the route to Khanasser, but rebel battalions controlled the streets of the city. Several parts of Safira continued to be bombarded by government forces, in an attempt to reclaim the city. Rebels from Al-Nusra Front and other jihadist groups surrounded the defense plant where many Army troops were stationed. Seven soldiers were killed when Al-Nusra fighters attacked a military checkpoint south of the defense plant. According to opposition activists, 112 rebels had been killed in the previous 72 hours. Much of the local population fled the city as a result of the violence. The opposition group SOHR reported that a convoy of Army reinforcements arrived at the factory after the fighting had ended. Later, it was reported that another convoy that was sent to the city was attacked by rebels and halted.
The stalemate in al-Safira continued for almost two weeks, with a war of attrition being waged between government troops still remaining in the city and rebel forces. However, on 19 February it was reported that, although unable to recapture the city, government reinforcements did manage to secure the road south of it and connect with troops at the plant, which had been under siege by rebels who could not capture it. The Army reinforcements further pushed north towards Aleppo, but were once again halted by rebels at the town of Tell Aran. By this point, rebel forces had lost more than 200 fighters while attempting to stop the Army reinforcements.
In early March, government troops captured the last village on the road between Aleppo and al-Safira, re-establishing a land supply route between central Syria and Aleppo's airport.
As of late April, rebel forces that were still managing to hold most of the city were coming under constant Army bombardment. Islamic rebels also continued to mount failed attacks against the military factory, in attempts to capture it.
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