The Jihadist rebels from Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham captured the strategic towns of Khan Touman and Al-Khalidiyah on Thursday night after a violent battle with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).
Initially, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies were able to repel the Jihadist advances at Khan Touman and Al-Khalidiyah; however, they were unable to hold on for long after the Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham overwhelmed them with sheer numbers.
In addition to capturing Khan Touman, the Jihadist rebels also seized Tank Hill, which is located directly east of these towns.
According to a Syrian military source, the SAA lost a total of 17 soldiers during the battle while the total casualties from Hezbollah and Harakat Al-Nujaba are currently unknown.
The source added that 30+ Jihadists were killed, including the commander of Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) “Abu ‘Aisha.”
Fighting is still ongoing in southern Aleppo; however, the loss of Khan Touman is devastating for the government forces because of its proximity to the Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway).