The conglomerate of Al-Qaeda affiliates “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) has announced a retaliatory offensive at the predominately Shi’i towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya in the Idlib Governorate after the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah continued their advance at the resort-city of Al-Zabadani in the Rif Dimashq Governorate.

This reprisal was issued after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” threatened to cutoff the water supply to the residents of Damascus if the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah did not withdraw from Al-Zabadani – the aforementioned armies refused to accept this compromise with the rebel groups.

Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya are two farming towns located directly north of Idlib City that possess an aggregated population of approximately 20,000 citizens – mostly Shi’i inhabitants – and a local National Defense Forces’ contingent of 2,250 men (estimates as high as 4,000).

On Wednesday morning, Jasyh Al-Fateh launched over 150 gas canisters, mortar shells, and rockets into the towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya, resulting in the death of 11 civilians, while also causing massive fires around the residential neighborhoods, due to the hell-fire cannons.

Reports from locals in Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya have confirmed that the two towns are under the complete control of the Syrian Armed Forces and that there were only small skirmishes at the northwestern axis of Kafraya.

Jaysh Al-Fateh has attacked the towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya before; however, they failed to infiltrate the National Defense Forces’ frontline positions, resulting in their eventual withdrawal from the outskirts of these towns.

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