Minutes ago in the Latakia Governorate’s northeastern countryside, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade (commando brigade) of the Republican Guard – in close coordination with 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 the villages of Shillif and Ballah after a violent battle with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) this morning.
According to a military source in the nearby town of Slunfeh, the village of Shillif is located directly south of Kinsibba, while Ballah is situated at its southwestern perimeter; these were both captured separately this morning.
Shillif and Ballah were the final two villages under Islamist control before reaching Kinsibba; after they were lost, the opposition forces had no choice but to retreat towards the aforementioned rebel stronghold in order to evade the advancing Syrian Commandos.
With these two villages captured, the Syrian Commandos and their allies will prepare for their final assault on Kinsibba in the coming hours, as they seek to establish control over this rebel stronghold that overlooks the strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour in northwestern Idlib.
The next few hours in northeastern Latakia will be critical for the Islamist rebels; if Kinsibba is lost, the remaining villages in northeastern Latakia will also fall.