BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:18 P.M.) – Forces of the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries groups operating in southern Aleppo province have captured three more towns and villages on what appears to have been their final approach to linking up with friendly units in eastern Idlib near the Abu Duhur military airport.
Moments ago, military-affiliated sources reported that Syrian pro-government forces had seized from Islamist militias the towns and villages of Al-Aliyah, Rasm al-Ghazal and Wadi al-Samaniyah in the southern countryside of Aleppo province.
The advance comes amid the seizure of two other settlements in southern Aleppo by Syrian army-led forces earlier on Saturday morning.
The capture of Al-Aliyah, Rasm al-Ghazal and Wadi al-Samaniyah completes the encirclement of a huge area of territory – over one thousand square kilometers in size – spanning the regions of northeast Hama, southeast Idlib and southwest Aleppo.
Given that armed rebel groups abandoned the area over the last week, it is believed that only Islamic State militants are present within the encircled area.
What this may mean for future Syrian Army operations is yet to be seen.