BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:37 A.M.) – Elite forces of the Syrian Arab Army have renewed their assault in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province, striking in an unexpected direction and liberating a new town.

Moments ago, reports from military-affiliated sources stated that units of the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division had captured from jihadist-led militias the town of Ard az-Zurzur in southeastern Idlib province.

The specific Tiger Forces unit involved in the battle has been identified as the division’s Tarmeh Group.

Ard az-Zurzur is located northeast of the army-held town of Khuwayr (liberated two days ago), which is essentially in the direct opposite direction of where the Syrian Army was expected to strike – i.e. towards the jihadist stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun.

Whether the new direction of the Syrian Army’s advance is part of a greater operation to secure the eastern flank of its penetration into Idlib or part of a distraction scheme to keep militant groups guessing its operational plan in the region is yet to be seen.

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