BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been rapidly increasing its presence along the southern Idlib front-lines this month, amid reports of a new offensive in the Jabal Al-Zawiya region.
According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Army has moved several units to the southern Idlib front-lines, with a large number of these troops concentrated near the town of Kafr Nabl.
The source said the new offensive will focus on the remaining territory still under the control of the jihadist rebels and Turkish-backed militants in the Jabal Al-Zawiya region.
He would add that the offensive could see the Syrian Army push further north along the Al-Ghaab Plain towards the strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour, which was captured by Jaysh Al-Fateh during their Spring 2015 offensive in Idlib.
Jisr Al-Shughour is arguably the most important target for the Syrian Army and their Russian allies, as the city itself is under the control of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) and their allies.
The city is also located along the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway), which makes its capture crucial for the Syrian Armed Forces.
In the past, the Syrian Army has attempted to advance towards Jisr Al-Shughour from the Jabal Al-Akrad region of Latakia; however, their offensives have been unsuccessful, as the jihadist factions at the key town of Kabani have refused to concede any ground to the military.
Should the Syrian Army choose to push towards Jisr Al-Shughour, they will likely take the Idlib Governorate path to the city.