BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – Key formations of the Syrian Arab Army – many of them elite outfits – are gathering strength on the front-lines of northern Hama and western Aleppo in preparation for a massive operation to lift the siege on two key Shi’ite villages deep inside rebel-held Idlib Governorate.
According to reports, most of the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces detachments, under the direct supervision of their top commander Suheil al-Hassan, have arrived in northern Hama Governorate.
At the same time, other first-rate Syrian Army formations (not specified) have arrived on the western Aleppo frontier.
The general understanding is that the Syrian Army will conduct a multi-prong offensive via both fronts with forces in the northern Hama attempting to reach the strategic town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib Governorate and those in western Aleppo advancing to lift the siege on two key Shi’ite towns – Fouaa and Kafriyah – located in central Idlib, just north of the provincial capital.
With the Syrian Army still rushing reinforcements to both Hama and Aleppo, the actual date for the commencement of this ambitious offensive against armed militant groups in Idlib is still not clear.