The Islamist offensive at the Al-Ghaab Plains, Brick Factory, and Jisr Al-Shughour has recently intensified in the last 24 hours, as militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from Ajnad Al-Sham and Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham stormed these three Syrian Government strongholds for the third straight day in the hopes of obstructing the latter’s main supply route from Latakia.
The most violent front on Friday was the battle for Jisr Al-Shughour, where the militants from Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham and their allies attacked this area from three axes, resulting in their advance towards the city gates at the northern and eastern flanks before nightfall dissipated the fighting.
According to field reports, the Islamist groups were able take control of the Bashlamoun, Sawmill, Al-Sheikh Sindayan, Al-Effendi, and Al-Hamki Checkpoints after fierce clashes with the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade and National Defense Forces (NDF) on the outskirts of Jisr Al-Shughour.
The militants were also able to capture the strategic hills of Tal Hamki and Tal Mantaf which overlooks the roadway that leads to the Al-Ghaab Plains and ends in eastern Latakia.
However, the Islamist groups were not able to hold onto their positions for very long, as the SAA’s 87th Brigade countered the militants at Tal Hamki, capturing the imperative hill and the checkpoint in this area east of Jisr Al-Shughour.
Currently, the SAA still controls the Syrian Government’s last supply route to the Idlib Governorate, but the battle for its seizure will likely intensify in the coming hours because it is among the Islamist groups main objectives for this offensive in northern Syria.
Despite claims of entering the city, the Islamist groups have not entered Jisr Al-Shughour as of yet; this was confirmed by a military source at the city of Ariha, who also added that the Brigade 88 and 40th Summit Checkpoints are under complete SAA control as of 10:30 P.M. Damascus Time.
The militant attack on the Brick Factory near Al-Mastouma was very limited on Friday after Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ajnad Al-Sham suffered significantly high casualties in the prior day clashes – their attack on Thursday resulted in the death of over 40 of their fighters.
Similar to the Brick Factory, the Jabhat Al-Nusra attack on the Al-Ghaab Plains took a backseat to their offensive at Jisr Al-Shughour – sources reported that all infiltration attempts into the village of Al-Sirmaniyah were repelled by the SAA and NDF.
Bashlamoun, Sawmill, Al-Sheikh Sindayan, Al-Effendi