It was a volatile morning for the Islamist rebels of Harakat Nour Al-Deen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), as they conceded several villages and hilltops to the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah inside the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside on Thursday.

During the morning hours, the Syrian Arab Army’s elite 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kataebat Al-Ba’ath (Al-Ba’ath Battalions), and Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi Paramilitary) – took full control of Balas and Kafr ‘Abid after intense firefights with the Islamist rebels of Harakat Nour Al-Deen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham at these villages.

This successful assault by the Syrian Armed Forces and Lebanese Resistance was followed by the capture of Ghayghan (also known as Tal Maflass) and Al-Ayoubi (including its surrounding farms) after the aforementioned pro-government forces killed several Islamist rebels; these villages helped propel the Syrian Armed Forces and Lebanese Resistance further south towards the strategic town of Al-Hadhir.

Finally, the Syrian Armed Forces and Lebanese Resistance imposed full control over the Air Defense Battalion Base, killing 17 enemy combatants from Harakat Nour Al-Deen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and the Free Syrian Army, while also destroying several of their armored vehicles.

The Islamist rebels are in serious trouble near the imperative Aleppo-Damascus International Highway (M-5 Highway); if the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah are able to take full control of the integral city of Khan Touman, they will have successfully cutoff off the Islamist rebels from their primary supply route from the Idlib Governorate to southern Aleppo.

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

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