The conglomerate of Al-Qaeda affiliates – led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army’s 2nd Battalion of the 101st Division – have launched their largest assault on the predominately Shi’i towns of Kafraya and Al-Fou’aa, targeting the National Defense Forces’ (NDF) controlled villages of Al-Suwaghiyah, Tal Al-Khirbat, and Deir Al-Zughab in this area just north of Idlib City.
On Sunday afternoon, the Jaysh Al-Fateh militants – led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham – finally broke-through the National Defense Forces’ frontline positions at the village of Al-Suwaghiyah after fierce clashes with the aforementioned civilian militia; this led to the NDF’s withdrawal to Tal Khirbat and Al-Sughawiyah’s complete capture by the Al-Qaeda affiliates before nightfall dissipated the clashes.
Despite their success on Sunday, the armed combatants from Jaysh Al-Fateh could not achieve the same level of success on Monday, as the stiff resistance from the National Defense Forces was enough to forestall the Islamist rebels from advancing into the towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya.
According to a military source in the Hama Governorate, the National Defense Forces destroyed a number of armed vehicles that included a BMP and a T-55 Tank that belonged to the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, while also killing the leader of Free Syrian Army’s 2nd Battalion, ‘Ali Za’our.
The source further added that the Al-Qaeda affiliates killed 6 more civilians from Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya; this death toll includes 2 children under the age of 3 and 1 elderly male (age 82).
Agitated over Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army’s sectarian assault on the Shi’i towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya, a throng of Syrian civilians gathered near the Sayyida Zaynab Shrine and Damascus International Airport to rally in support of these beleaguered civilians.