Two days ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to impose full control over the village of Ateiri in the Lattakian countryside whilst also advancing some 4 kilometers along the Turkish border during the past few weeks.
However, local army commanders have now set their eyes on Rabi’ah which has long been a Free Syrian Army (FSA) regional capital in Lattakia, sidelined only by the Jabhat al-Nusra stronghold of Salma. Rabi’ah is geograpchically situated less than 1 kilometer South of Ateiri. A source close to al-Masdar in Lattakia city reported that Russian jets could be heard flying above the provincial capital as of tonight.
The rebel frontline in the Lattakian governorate has largely crumbled as the SAA, National Defence Forces (NDF), Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and Al Muqāwamat al-Sūriyah (Syrian Resistance) have captured more than a dozen villages from insurgents during the past month.
If the SAA and their allies were to capture Rabi’ah and Salma, rebels would be forced to abandon the Lattakian province and flee to Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib. Furthermore, this would have the government surround the Islamist Jaish al-Fateh coalition in the province of Idlib from 3 flanks.
Chris Tomson is a Danish military analyst for Al-Masdar News