The second day of the rebel offensive on the provincial capital of Idlib opened with Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham fighters infiltrating into the Youth Housing and Al-Mahraab Quarters, while also taking up positions on 30th Street as the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Arab Army’s 11th Tank Division combatted their attack.
Despite claims of large gains in Idlib, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies from Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen were driven back to the outskirts of the city after the SAA’s 155th Brigade at the Hama Military Airport rained multiple artillery strikes on the enemy combatants.
By 7 P.M. Damascus Time on Wednesday, the Youth Housing and Al-Mahraab Quarters were declared safe zones, while the Al-Sina’a (Industrial) Quarter remained contested – the militants control the factories located east of Idlib City.
The rebel forces suffered significantly high casualties on Wednesday, as their death toll was estimated at 55 fighters by Syrian military sources. NDF casualties were confirmed at 17 fighters.
Among the dead militants, the lead field commander of operations for Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham’s “‘Umar Al-Farouq Battalion”, Hassan Al-Khalifa, was reportedly killed by the NDF at the northern outskirts of Idlib City.
Barely escaping death, the field commander for ‘Ahrar Al-Sham’s “Suqour Fajr Al-Islam Battalion”, Nidal Hassan Faraat, was reportedly rushed to a nearby field hospital after being wounded during the clashes with the NDF.
An American jihadist was identified among the dead Jabhat Al-Nusra militants on Wednesday; however, his identity has not been released to Al-Masdar News yet – more to come.
Also identified amongst the dead militants in Idlib City were the following: Mubarak Al-Murshidi (Saudi), “Abu Mohannad Al-Habshi” (Leader Ajnad Al-Sham), Hussein Majd Qadour Al-Hassan, Mustafa Hariri, Mohammad Kamal Hamdoun, and “Abu Jameel Qatb.”