On Thursday morning, the conglomerate of Al-Qaeda linked militant groups “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) began their long-awaited retaliatory ground offensive at Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya, launching two powerful attacks at the outskirts of these predominately Shi’i towns in the Idlib Governorate.
The first assault began when Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham – alongside the Syrian Al-Qaeda organization “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and Ansar Al-Sham – attacked the Soy Farms at the outskirts of Al-Fou’aa, where they were confronted by a large contingent from the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF).
Unable to penetrate the NDF’s frontline defenses at the Soy Farms, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and Ansar Al-Sham were forced to withdraw to the east after sustaining heavy casualties during the battle with the civilian-led militias from the towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya on Thursday morning.
According to reports from NDF sources inside Al-Fou’aa, Jaysh Al-Fateh’s first assault on Al-Fou’aa was costly, as they lost an estimated 30 armed combatants, while the NDF lost a confirmed four soldiers.
Following Jaysh Al-Fateh’s first assault on Al-Fou’aa, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) launched their own campaign, targeting Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham’s movements near Ma’arat Al-Misreen, Idlib City, Saraqib, and Binnish.
Undeterred by their previous failure, Jaysh Al-Fateh prepared for another assault on the Soy Farms; however, this time, they deployed their suicide bombers to carry out a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) attack at the National Defense Forces’ checkpoint outside of Tal Sawaghiyah.
As the BMP approached the checkpoint, the alert NDF soldiers guarding the checkpoint opened fire and destroyed the armored vehicle before it could reach its destination.
Not long after the failed suicide operation, Jaysh Al-Fateh began their second assault on the Soy Farms; however, once again, they were repelled by the Syrian Armed Forces.
Jaysh Al-Fateh would carry out a number of little attacks at Deir Al-Zaghib located west of Al-Fou’aa, but they were all unsuccessful, due to the National Defense Forces’ stiff defenses.