As the third week of the Jaysh Al-Fatah offensive sets to begin, the Islamist groups that form this militant coalition have begun to experience a string of defeats at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) in the southern part of the Jisr Al-Shughour District.
Perhaps, the most telling tale of this collapse in the Jaysh Al-Fatah offensive was the Syrian Armed Forces reversing much of the latter’s gains in the northern part of the Al-Ghaab Plains, where they were able to recapture the villages of Tal Wassit, Al-Misheek, Jubb Al-Hamra, and swaths of territory in Qastoun.
This failure to maintain control of their initial gains near Jisr Al-Shughour has left Jaysh Al-Fatah at the mercy of the Syrian Armed Forces powerful counter-assault at the northern part of the Al-Ghaab Plains in the Idlib Governorate.
On Saturday, things did not get any better for the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaysh Al-Muhajireen, as the SAA’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Division encircled the strategic villages of Al-Sirmaniyah and Al-Ziyarah, where they later began a counter-offensive.
North of the Syrian Government controlled town of Ghaniyah, the 87th Brigade continued their counter-assault towards the village of Ishtabraq, killing 22 militants from Ajnad Al-Sham and Jund Al-Aqsa before they were able to advance their positions to the north.
East of Ariha, the militants from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham attempted to advance at the Ma’ar Tab’i Hill; however, their attack was repelled and countered by the National Defense Forces (NDF), who later declared the hill under their full control after they captured Tal SyriaTel nearby.
According to a military source, the Syrian Arab Army soldiers that are entrenched at the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital are in good health – the source followed-up by stating that the Al-Qaeda militants were unable to breach the building’s security apparatus on Saturday, despite fierce clashes at the southern perimeter.