BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – On Monday, Al-Qaeda-linked militants operating in the northern countryside of Latakia province launched an offensive against the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitary groups dubbed ‘God will punish them with your hands.’
In the event, the offensive lasted less than an hour consisting of a brief bombardment of Syrian Army positions with rocket and conventional artillery followed by an even briefer push by jihadist infantry units before coming to an end.
Military-affiliated sources report that the short-lived operation resulted in the death of thirteen militant fighters after they became entangled in a maze of well-prepared Syrian Army defenses.
The jihadist operation was ostensibly aimed at seizing the village and surrounding area of As-Sarraf from pro-government forces, however, the hope that the attack might somehow relieve pressure on crumbling militant lines across Idlib and Aleppo provinces was likely also an objective of the offensive.
Two Al-Qaeda affiliate militias were identified to have taken part in the forlorn offensive, these being Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and Jabal al-Islam.