BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:55 P.M.) – Jihadist-led militants in northeast Hama find themselves locked into a battle with Syrian pro-government forces which they have virtually no hope of winning. The outcome of this battle had already been decided the very moment the Syrian Arab Army and its allies chose to initiate it.

So far the battle has witnessed a comparatively small force of mixed Syrian Army units and pro-government militias liberate 29 villages from jihadist-led militants.

Unlike the battle fronts which are adjacent to northeast Hama (such as north Hama proper and southwest Aleppo), the terrain in northeast Hama is mostly flat and thus ideal for classic mobile battles.

Typically, pro-government forces are employing overwhelming numbers of tanks, artillery and airpower in the ongoing operation and to this end, the terrain of the northeast Hama battlefield (unlike southwest Aleppo and north Hama) could not be more suited.

The main opponent to the Syrian Army’s advances, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda), is no longer the force it use to be just eighteen months ago when it mustered nearly 100 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to storm western Aleppo.

A series of reckless operations (including the western Aleppo operation) has seen most of the offensive sting that Al-Qaeda’s army in Syria once had (particularly tanks, seasoned troops, expert commanders and artillery) be squandered with virtually no hope of replenishment.

Such past actions have guaranteed that Al-Qaeda can never hope to win the current maneuver battles being fought over the rolling semi-desert steppes of northeastern Hama.

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By the same token, with the Syrian Army and its allies now approaching the Idlib province’s eastern border at full speed, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham finds itself in a position whereby it has to fight this great battle to which it is predestined to lose, much so in the same fashion that the Islamic State more-or-less met its end in Syria.

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