BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is determined to retake the strategic cities of Ariha and Jisr Al-Shughour in the Idlib Governorate, a military source told Al-Masdar on Tuesday from the capital city of Damascus.

The source said the Russian military is also on board with this endeavor, as they have reportedly pressured their Turkish counterparts to force the jihadist rebels from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) to withdraw from these cities immediately.

Despite the pressure, however, the jihadist rebels have made no attempts to withdraw from either Jisr Al-Shughour or Ariha, let alone any towns or villages south of the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway).

The lack of movement by the jihadist rebels will no doubt result in the resumption of the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive in the Idlib Governorate; however, the source told Al-Masdar that these forces will be fully regrouped by the time the deadline for their withdrawal expires.

According to the source, Russian reconnaissance drones have been conducting hourly flights over the M-4 Highway, along with constant flybys over the jihadist positions in the Jisr Al-Shughour District near the Latakia Governorate’s administrative border.

The Syrian Arab Army has attempted to retake Jisr Al-Shughour in the past, but their offensives have been foiled by the jihadist rebels around the town of Kabani in the Jabal Al-Akrad region of Latakia.

If the offensive does resume in the coming weeks, it is highly likely that the Syrian Army chooses a new path Jisr Al-Shughour

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2020-03-17 17:21

“forces will be fully regrouped”, is necessary as scattered stragglers are much more difficult to form a cauldron as in a cleansing (killing) field.

2020-03-18 01:57

“… it is highly likely that the Syrian Army chooses a new path (to) Jisr Al-Shughour”.

After so many disastrous and immensely costly failed attempts to break the jihadist defences from the west, this “new path” should have been identified and followed months ago.