BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:11 P.M.) – ISIS forces operating in northwest Syria have broken through rebel lines and advanced swiftly into the province of Idlib. The event marks the first time in almost four years since the self-declared caliphate has had a presence in the region.

Following a renewed offensive operation against Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) that commenced three days ago, the Islamic State’s enclave in northern Hama province has rapidly expanded in both the direction of Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Today, ISIS militants made another powerful push, capturing from Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham the settlements of Huways Ibn Hadib, Qal’at al-Huways, Huways Um al-Jarn and Jabal Huways.

Some sources say that Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham militants simply fled their positions after ISIS charged them in the area.

By this advance, Islamic State forces have officially entered the province of Idlib, the first time they have held a foothold in the region since withdrawing in early 2014.

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