The conglomerate of Islamist factions inside the Idlib Governorate – “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest- has announced the second phase of their wide-scale offensive in the Hama Governorate after they successfully secured the northern part of the Al-Ghaab Plains in the month of August.
Led by the two largest factions in Jaysh Al-Fateh – Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – this joint Islamist group will focus their attention on the Hama Governorate’s northern countryside that is mostly under the control of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF).
Recently, the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 10th Tank Brigade – in coordination with the National Defense Forces from the predominately Christian city of Mhardeh and Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) – launched a wide-scale offensive to capture the Islamist rebels salient that is has been largely contested for the last 13 months
The Syrian Armed Forces were able to capture a number of sites from the Islamist rebels in northern Hama, including the towns of Sukeek, Al-Mughayr, Mukarabah, and Al-Lahaya; these victories were coalesced with the capture of 2 hilltops at Tal Sukeek and Tal ‘Uthman near the rebel strongholds of Kafr Naboudeh, Kafr Zita, Al-Lataminah, and Latmeen.
If the Islamist rebels are successful in recapturing their lost territory, they will have rough road ahead, as the cities of Mhardeh and Al-Sqaylabiyah are government strongholds that are well-armed and well-protected by the National Defense Forces.