BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued their advance in the southeastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate this evening, as their troops seized more ground from the jihadist rebels. Led by the 25th Special Mission Forces Division (formerly Tiger Forces), the Syrian Arab Army has announced the capture of Al-Ghadfah after advancing north of Jarjanaz and east of Khirbat Ma’ratah in southeastern Idlib.
At the same time, the Syrian Army’s 5th Corps is still pushing northwest towards the Idlib-Hama Highway as they look to isolate another Turkish observation post in the Idlib Governorate.
As a result of these latest advances, the Syrian Arab Army now finds themselves approaching the gates of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, which is a major city along the Idlib-Hama Highway.
In the coming hours, the Syrian Arab Army will attempt to capture the last remaining towns and villages under militant control before they begin the encirclement of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man. (Al Masdar News)
The SAA has been preparing for an offensive to take Ma’arat Al-Nu’man for several weeks at least. In addition to the 25th Division, the 5th Corps and Liwaa Al-Quds are spearheading the offensive along with a host of supporting troops and militia units. Enough mass, I believe, to sustain the offensive until victory is achieved.
Just prior to the start of the SAA offensive, the jihadis of HTS launched their own offensive, a spoiling attack. The gamble did not pay off. The jihadis were able to advance in the first few hours, but were then beaten back… badly. Jihadi losses were around two hundred KIA/WIA along with a lot of equipment. These losses left the jihadis ill prepared to face the SAA offensive. Jihadi defensive positions, already shattered by weeks of aerial and artillery bombardment, fell quickly all along the front. In four days of fighting, the SAA took 35 towns and villages.
This will be a decisive victory with Damascus regaining control over most of the M5 and a good part of Idlib governorate. The Turks will probably have to relocate two, if not three, of their OPs.
In the meantime, Christmas celebrations continue in Aleppo.
Through the efforts and sacrifices of the SAA, these scenes will one day be possible throughout Syria. FIDO, my brothers, FIDO!