This past weekend has been full of surprises, including the resurgence of the Syrian Armed Forces in northern Syria after six months of consistent losses to the Islamist rebel forces; this includes the loss of the Idlib Governorate and the Al-Ghaab Plains of the Hama Governorate.
However, their string of bad luck seems to be past them, thanks in large part to the recent participation of Russian forces inside country.
With the Russian Air Force conducting dozens of airstrikes around Syria each day, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies have been able to capitalize on their enemy’s misfortunes; this is most evident in the Latakia and Hama Governorate’s of northern Syria.
On Thursday morning, the Syrian Armed Forces captured Kafr Ajouz after intense firefights with the Islamist rebels of the Free Syrian Army’s “Coastal Brigades” and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”.
The following day, the Syrian Armed Forces – led by the National Defense Forces (NDF) – took full control of the strategic hilltop of Jubb Al-Ahmar and the imperative town of Kafr Dalbeh, while their enemies attempted to evade the swarming Russian MI-24 Helicopter Gunships (alligators) pounding their positions.
What does this progress all mean? Well, directly north of Kafr Dalbeh and Kafr Ajouz is the rebel stronghold of Salma; this city in northeastern Latakia has been under the control of the Free Syrian Army and their allies since 2012.
The capture of Salma is not only important for morale, but also, the recapture of Jisr Al-Shughour – a city located in the Idlib Governorate that sits on the Latakia border.
Salma overlooks the northeastern mountainside of Jabal Al-Akrad (Kurdish Mountains), which is the part of Latakia that leads to Jisr Al-Shughour and the Turkish border along the town of Al-Ghassaniyah.
If Salma is captured, the Islamist rebel forces are in serious trouble, as the Syrian Arab Army and their allies have a downhill (literally) battle to Jisr Al-Shughour.