Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard – backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF), the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade), and the Syrian Marines – imposed full control over 4 villages in northern Latakia after a violent battle with the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

According to the battlefield correspondent Eyad Al-Hussein, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade and their allies captured the villages of Al-Hawr, Al-Ruweisat, Al-Sweida, and Wad Al-‘Zaraq in the Kurdish Mountains (Jabal Al-Akrad) of northeastern Latakia, marking their first major push towards the rebel stronghold of Kinsibba in several days.

Kinsibba is a mountaintop village that overlooks the Turkish (to the north) and Idlib (to the east) borders; its proximity to these areas makes it an imperative military endeavor for the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command, despite the fact it is a relatively small village.

The Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army must hold onto Kinsibba at all costs; if it is lost to the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade and their allies, then they will have a clear path downhill to the large city of Jisr Al-Shughour in the Idlib Governorate’s western countryside.

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