For nearly 24 straight hours, the battle at Mastoumah has engulfed the area with multiple rounds of gunfire and mortar shells, as both Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Qaeda” and the National Defense Forces (NDF) exchange blows at the strategic hill that overlooks this town located south of the provincial capital of Idlib.
The attack on Al-Mastoumah began on Sunday morning, when militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra – in coordination with Jund Al-Aqsa (Nusra offshoot) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham – stormed Al-Mastoumah Hill from the village of Fayloun to the west, resulting in the subsequent capture of this imperative area after fierce clashes with the NDF.
With Al-Mastoumah Hill under their control, Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies turned their attention to the town of Al-Mastoumah, where they attempted to infiltrate past the NDF’s frontline defenses at the northwestern and northeastern flanks, including the Primary School Checkpoint, Mughsaleh Checkpoint, Mustafa Qadour Checkpoint, Duwar Abu Lu’ayy Checkpoint, and the ‘Abdel-Hadi Taha Checkpoint.
Despite inflicting a powerful assault on the aforementioned checkpoints, the NDF was able to remain in full control of these barriers after thwarting the large wave of Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jund Al-Aqsa militants trying to infiltrate their defenses at the town of Al-Mastoumah.
After forestalling the Islamist advance, the NDF countered the enemy combatants with an attack of their own, resulting in their recapture of the southeastern perimeter of Al-Mastoumah before the Syrian Arab Air Force launched a series of airstrikes on the militant convoys that were attempting to reinforce their entrenched comrades from Fayloun.
Firefights are still ongoing at Al-Mastoumah Hill; however, both forces are currently engaged in a deadlock for control of this strategic area – the next 24 hours will be very critical for both parties.