BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched their offensive on Sunday evening to capture the key city of Khan Sheikhoun from the jihadist rebel forces in southern Idlib.
Led by the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army has managed to score several advances around Khan Sheikhoun’s western and northern axes, forcing the militants to abandon a number of points in the process.
In particular, the Syrian Arab Army was able to capture the strategic hilltop of Talat Al-Nimr, which gave them complete fire control over the Khan Sheikhoun part of the Hama-Idlib Highway.
As shown in the map above, the Syrian Army has cutoff the Hama-Idlib Highway, while also narrowing the gap between their forces in the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate.
Once this gap closes, the Syrian Arab Army will have officially besieged all of the militant forces in the northern countryside of Hama; this also includes the Turkish Armed Forces at the Morek observation post.
A source from the Syrian Army said the Turkish military will not likely withdraw from this observation post, as they are allowed access to the Hama-Idlib Highway, per the Astana Peace Agreement.
At the same time, the Turkish Army has also established a new observation post north of Khan Sheikhoun.
The Syrian Army source says this new observation post is meant to block the military’s route along the Hama-Idlib Highway.