Largely due to the Russian intervention in late September of 2015, the Syrian Armed Forces have conducted a major military offensive in the northeastern countryside of Latakia province. This has seen government troops penetrate deep inside regions which had otherwise been rebel-held since the summer of 2012.

In the matter of barely 6 months, an estimated 50 villages have been captured in the Latakia governorate as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is slowly pushing towards Idlib which is almost entirely controlled by the Jaish al-Fateh rebel coalition.

Russia currently operates out of the Khmeimim Airbase which is located on the southern outskirts of the provincial capital. Through daily Russian air raids on Islamist insurgents, the SAA has been able to make rapid advances inside the mountainous terrain of Latakia.

Remarkably, government troops have even been able to seize the Islamist strongholds of Salma and Rabia. These towns were long considered impenetrable but were nevertheless captured during the winter due to persistent efforts of SAA units, the National Defence Forces (NDF) and paramilitary fighters of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and Syrian Resistance militia.

However, the frontline has been mostly been steady since March with rebels still enjoying a minor presence inside Latakia’s province.

The static frontline situation can be explained through three separate events:
1. The Geneva-brokered Syrian peace deal which was implemented on the 27th of February.
2. In early March, the elite Syrian Marines and Desert Hawks Brigade were transferred to the Palmyra frontline.
3. On the 14th of March, the Kremlin announced it had withdrawn half its airforce from the Khmeimim Airbase.

ALSO READ  Syria: Russian jets hammer jihadist stronghold in northeast Latakia

Nevertheless, the liberation of Palmyra has now enabled the Desert Hawks Brigade and Syrian Marines to redeploy to Latakia. Furthermore, with the Syrian ceasefire falling apart, Russian warplanes seem to be increasingly operational once again.

Until now, the Russian Air Force has conducted an average 60 daily airstrikes in Syria while the US-led coalition has only carried out an average 7 airstrikes in the country on the daily.

Meanwhile, al-Masdar sources based in Latakia say that local SAA commanders intend to capture the remaining rebel areas in Latakia during the coming months.

If they succeed in doing so, this would put enormous pressure upon the Islamist Jaish al-Fateh umbrella groups in Idlib.

The initial phase of the government’s offensive will reportedly target Kinnsibba village which is still held by rebel forces although it has been besieged by the SAA from three sides.

Map credits to Agathocle deSyracuse.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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ΠΕΤΡΟΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΕΚΙΤΖΟΓΛΟΥ
ΠΕΤΡΟΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΕΚΙΤΖΟΓΛΟΥ
2016-04-23 17:59

That’s slow progresses, nothing to celebrate with it , after millions of Syrian people fled the country divided, Assad forces has problem of low personnel numbers replacing battle causalities….

Хрис Чайковский
Хрис Чайковский
2016-04-23 19:52

Estimate of conscripted soldiers who defected range in the hundreds, try the tens of thousands who died in the past 5 years fighting Saudi-backed terroristsm and maybe your theory would hold some water.

Хрис Чайковский
Хрис Чайковский
2016-04-23 19:52

Izat Charkatli

Izat Charkatli
Izat Charkatli
2016-04-23 19:57

Progress was only halted for the stupid ceasefire and the Palmyra offensive. The battle in Lattakia’s landmass has the toughest terrain because of its huge heights. Controlling Kabaneh would allow for fire control over the Ghab plains and Jisr Al Shughour governing district. Come fight the battle if you’re so good.

ΠΕΤΡΟΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΕΚΙΤΖΟΓΛΟΥ
ΠΕΤΡΟΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΕΚΙΤΖΟΓΛΟΥ
2016-04-23 20:13

the fight to free Syria from islamic criminals will be long keep on fighting victory will come .. For those who defected shame will be on their heads for the rest of their lifes,,,

Lluís Madurell
Lluís Madurell
2016-04-23 19:19

conquers only one in one month…

Blahblah
Blahblah
2016-04-23 20:42

I think you mean Kabani. Kinsibba was captured a month or more ago.

Shahid ullah
Shahid ullah
2016-04-24 02:16

While at it they should get their eyes fixed on Syrian Arabia land hope tides will turn in their favour and take back what belongs to Syria the Golan Heights.

Michael Hovannesjan
Michael Hovannesjan
2016-04-24 19:43