On Friday morning, the conglomerate of Al-Qaeda affiliates “Jaysh Al-Fateh” launched their largest offensive at Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya, attacking these predominately Shi’i towns in the Idlib Governorate from all sides, as the civilian-led National Defense Forces (NDF) – in coordination with a small group of Hezbollah soldiers – defended their positions from every flank.

Jaysh Al-Fateh – led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jund Al-Aqsa, and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – began their assault at the besieged village of Deir Al-Zughab, where they encountered a tough contingent from the NDF that was protecting the southern flank near the Factory Checkpoint.

Following their initial assault on Deir Al-Zughab, Jaysh Al-Fateh sent wave after wave of suicide bombers in the direction of Al-Fou’aa, while their combatants waited to storm the town’s southern perimeter, despite the multitude of airstrikes from the Syrian Arab Air Force that would relentlessly pound their positions in Binnish and Idlib City.

All-in-all, the Al-Qaeda affiliates conducted 8 suicide attacks, with only 1 of them hitting their corresponding targets at the town of Al-Fou’aa – the successful suicide attack utilized a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED to strike its target at the outskirts of the aforementioned town in the Idlib Governorate.

At the Suwaghiyah-Tal Al-Khirbah axis, the National Defense Forces fended off a powerful assault from Jund Al-Aqsa after the aforementioned Islamist group attempted to break-through their frontlines repeatedly on Friday afternoon.

As the twilight hours descended upon these Shi’i towns, Jaysh Al-Fateh refused to let up their assault, claiming they penetrated the National Defense Forces’ frontlines at Al-Fou’aa; this was followed by the alleged capture of 13 NDF – these reports were unconfirmed and not reported by sources from inside these towns.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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