The last 48 hours for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) have been extremely productive inside the Latakia Governorate’s northeastern countryside, as they have captured two strategic towns from the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda faction) and the Free Syrian Army’s “Coastal Brigades” after intense firefights in Jabal Al-Akrad (Kurdish Mountains).
On Thursday morning, the National Defense Forces, Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and Syrian Arab Army stormed Kafr Ajouz in Jabal Al-Akrad, killing 16 enemy combatants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army’s Coastal Brigades before they imposed full control over the town and its surrounding hills.
Kafr Ajouz was originally under the National Defense Forces’ control in July; however, the Islamist rebel forces launched an offensive in August to take this town and the imperative town of Doreen – the latter was not recaptured by the Islamist rebels.
Following their success on Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Forces did not waste much time before they launched a full-scale assault on Kafr Al-Dalbeh; this resulted in a series of fierce clashes between the aforementioned pro-government forces and the Islamist rebels of the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Nusra.
Much to the surprise of the Islamist rebels, the Syrian Armed Forces were determined and confident at Kafr Al-Dalbeh; this was likely due to the Russian Air Force protecting them from above.
Finally, after nearly seven hours of intense firefights on Friday night, the Syrian Armed Forces took full-control of Kafr Al-Dalbeh, leaving over 15 enemy combatants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Coastal Brigades dead before they retreated to the imperative city of Salma.
Kafr Al-Dalbeh and Kafr Ajouz are two towns that are situated south of the rebel stronghold of Salma; if they are lost, then the aforementioned city’s southern perimeter will be exposed by the hills that overlook it.
With their success, the Syrian Armed Forces are now in a prime position begin a major operation to capture this rebel stronghold that has been out of their possession since early 2012.