The 21st century is witnessing destructive and devastating urban warfare the world thought they would never see again after the Second World War. Brutal house-to-house fighting has taken place in various theaters in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.

Already witnessing primordial house-to-house fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2003, military analysts were shocked by the evolution of urban warfare. Battles such as Aleppo, Mosul, Mariupol, Bakhmut, and recently in Gaza changed the face of urban warfare forever, and the doctrine of such grueling fighting can be analyzed today.

Battle of Aleppo 2016

Aleppo is considered to be the critical strategic supply and economic hub of Syria, and due to this, the ancient city became one of the biggest battlegrounds of the Syrian Civil War. The first gunfire in the city erupted from the anti-Assad protests, which quickly spiraled into an all-out conflict.

At the onset of the all-out war, the rebels captured large swaths of Aleppo City, with most of the Syrian army retreating into the more fortified airbases and countryside. Nevertheless, various factions and Islamist terrorist organizations, such as al-Nusra and ISIS, interdicted power at the worst possible moment as Russia formally intervened in 2015.

Using a scorched Earth aerial campaign and isolating pockets of rebel resistance through brutal siege tactics, the Battle of Aleppo decisively turned in Assad’s favor. Whatever rebels that weren’t outright killed were evacuated under a deal to Idlib province. Some would later join the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, while the others remain in the near-surrounded Idlib province to this day.

Battle of Mosul 2017