BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The battle against the Islamic State (IS) is nearly finished for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), but the war in Syria is far from over.

With major jihadist groups like Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham still operating in several areas across Syria, the Syrian Arab Army will have their hands full in 2018 as they shift their attention away from the eastern part of the country.

In particular, the large HTS presence inside the Hama, Aleppo, and Idlib governorates is a major problem for the Syrian Army because their periodic offensives tend to wreck havoc on the government areas.

Unlike IS, HTS and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham tend to fortify and inhabit the areas they capture, which makes expelling them very difficult for the Syrian Army because they are deeply embedded in the towns and villages.

The Syrian Arab Army is now planning to attack these heavily fortified areas like Idlib and northern Hama, which are firmly under the control of HTS and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.

Once these battles begin, the death toll in Syria is expected to skyrocket as the rough terrain and unyielding jihadists will prove difficult to overcome without a great deal of resources.

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

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Mark
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Mark

Please stop calling these terrorists groups jihadist.. should always refer to them as Terrorists.
Thanks

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jmNZ

Jihadists ARE a type of terrorist, viz. those who would kill you for holding different ideas, or even changing your mind!
In my view they are the worst kind of terrorist – and properly called “jihadis”.

LidMad88
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LidMad88

The Syrian soldiers and their allies are jihadists, fighting to protect their nation and freedom. The ”rebels”, al Qa’ida and Da’esh are Wahhabi/Salafist terrorists, not jihadists in any sense of the word.

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jmNZ

Disagree. “Jihad” is an Islamic term meaning ‘Holy’ war on behalf of their religion.
Most Syrians are not fighting for this: they are fighting for the secular state that allows each individual the freedom to choose his own ideas.