The Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard has capitalized on the powerful Russian airstrikes plaguing the Islamist rebels in northern Latakia, capturing several sites that were firmly under the control of the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) three months ago.

On Tuesday morning in the Latakia Governorate’s northeastern countryside, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade – backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Qurdaha, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), and Muqawama Souri (Syrian Resistance) – imposed full control over the strategic village of ‘Arafat after a violent battle with Jabhat Al-Nusra, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Liwaa Suqour Al-Ghaab.

Following the capture of ‘Arafat, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade and their allies advanced to the hilltop villages of Rwaysat Al-Sheikhou and Katf Al-Salat, seizing these sites from the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra and Liwaa Al-Ghaab after pushing northwest from the strategic Jubb Al-Ahmar area of the Prophet Jonah Mountains (Jabal Nabi Younis).

As a result of the Syrian Armed Forces seizing ‘Arafat, they are now in position to strike the imperative mountaintop village of Kabani and the nearby village of ‘Ikko from their positions along Points 1182 and 1254 in the Kurdish Mountains (Jabal Al-Akrad).

The objective of this large-scale offensive in Jabal Al-Turkmen, Jabal Al-Akrad, and Jabal Nabi Younis is to seal the Latakia Governorate’s border with Turkey, while also sealing the Latakia-Idlib axis that has been a thorn in the government’s side since the summer of 2012.

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

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