BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is officially in full control of the Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5) after eight years of battle.
The Syrian Army said they captured the last points along the highway on Tuesday evening, when their forces took control of the strategic town of Khan Al-‘Assal and the nearby Rashiddeen 4 sector in southwestern Aleppo.
According to the Syrian Army, their forces were able to achieve this imperative victory after capturing several important sites in eastern Idlib, including the cities of Saraqib and Ma’arat Al-Nu’man.
While the Aleppo-Damascus Highway is under their control, the roadway will not likely be reopened to the public until the Syrian Army pushes west towards the Turkish border.
The reason for this is due to the fact that the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and their allies from the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) still maintain a presence along the western part of the Aleppo-Damascus Highway.
Furthermore, there are still grave concerns of a potential large-scale Turkish military offensive to reclaim the areas lost by the jihadist rebels over the last few weeks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already vowed to launch an operation to retake the areas around their observation posts, but it is still not clear if they will go through with this, as Ankara and Moscow are planning to meet about the situation in Idlib.