The battle for Idlib is heating up, as the militants led by the Syrian Al-Qaeda organization “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from the largest militia in the Levantine Front “Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham” have launched another offensive inside the province; this time, their objective was to capture the towns surrounding the Sheikh Al-‘Ali Mountains on the Latakia-Aleppo Highway.
On early Friday morning, the Jaysh Al-Fatah plan came to fruition, when a large group of militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham stormed the towns of Sanqarah, Al-Nahal, Basniqoul, Hosh Basniqoul, Mahambal, Tabayah, Al-Qayasat, and ‘Aynatah, where they met a contingent of soldiers from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the 45th Regiment of the 1st Armored Division.
Unable to maintain their frontline positions at Tabayah, Hosh Basniqoul, Al-Nahal, Sanqarah, and Aynatah, the Syrian Armed Forces were forced to withdraw in order to reinforce the towns of Bansiqoul and Mahambal, as Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham fighters were swarming this area from both flanks.
The Syrian Armed Forces were able to recover some ground lost after they forestalled the militant offensive at Basniqoul and Mahambal; however, they were only able to recapture the town of Al-Nahal after fierce clashes with the enemy combatants from Jaysh Al-Fatah.
Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham will attempt to capture the remaining towns under the Syrian Armed Forces possession on Saturday, despite the fact that the latter is on the offensive near the town of Zayzoun and the eastern part of the Al-Ghaab Plains of Idlib,