On Friday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Aleppo City, the Al-Ba’ath Battalions, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary), Kataeb Hezbollah (Iraqi paramilitary), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-‘Abbas (Iraqi paramilitary), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Iranian/Afghani paramilitary) – captured several villages from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki in southern Aleppo, marking the largest retreat for the Islamist rebels since the 1st Qalamoun Mountains offensive in late 2013.
According to a military source embedded with the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies have captured the villages of Banes, Rasm Al-Sahreej, Tulaylat, Tal Hadaya, Birnah, and Al-Barqoum after a series of intense firefights with Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, and Jabhat Al-Nusra throughout the day on Friday.
In addition to the capture of the aforementioned villages, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies captured several imperative hilltops near Jabal Al-‘Eiss, including Tal Al-Akhar that is situated just north of the aforementioned mountaintop and directly south of Birnah.
The culmination of all these aforementioned sites led the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies to capture the strategic ICARDA Military Base (formerly an agricultural school), leaving many Islamist rebels dead and destroying several of their military installations en route to cutting off the important Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5) that feeds into every major roadway in Syria.
With the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies seizing several points along the Aleppo-Damascus Highway, the Islamist rebels have been cutoff from their strategic supply route that links the provincial capitals of Idlib and Aleppo.