BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:15 A.M.) – After entering the southern countryside of Idlib province about two weeks ago, ISIS militants have been ejected from the region following a powerful counter-attack by rival jihadists of Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda).
On Wednesday, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham forces in southeast Idlib launched a counter-offensive against Islamic State positions along the region’s provincial border with Hama. For the assault, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham mustered motorized shock troops backed up by artillery support.
According to both opposition and pro-government sources, the forces of the Al-Qaeda affiliate tore through the ISIS defenses and re-took the villages of Dalat al-Huwaya, Huways Umm Jan, Huways Ibn Hadb and Ad Dablah as well as the key hilltop of Jabal Hawas.
Initially, the village of Rasm Hammaam was also re-taken by Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham, however ISIS managed to launch a small counter-attack of its own on Thursday and claim back the settlement.
In any case, by this advance, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham reversed at least half of the gains made by Islamic State fighters earlier in December.