In a matter of 24 hours inside the Latakia Governorate’s northern countryside, the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have gone from being on the offensive to losing several kilometers of territory, thanks in large part to the Syrian Arab Army’s continued advance in Jabal Al-Turkmen (Turkmen Mountains) and Jabal Al-Akrad (Kurdish Mountains).
Yesterday, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd 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 Muqawama Souri (Syrian Resistance) imposed full control over a dozen villages in Jabal Al-Turkmen after a series of violent firefights with the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army.
As a result of this massive advance in northern Latakia, the Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade and their allies have practically surrounded the Islamist rebel stronghold of Al-Rabi’yah from three different axes, leaving the latter with only one outlet to retreat at the eastern flank.
According to the battlefield correspondent Eyad Al-Hussein, the Syrian Armed Forces are now 1.5 km away from Al-Rabi’yah; this is the closest the latter has been to this town in the last 4 years.
Following the capture of Salma in the summer of 2012, the Free Syrian Army seized Al-Rabi’yah and much of the Turkmen Mountains after this successful campaign in northern Latakia.
Now, the Islamist rebels are forced to watch their massive gains from 2012 steadily dissipate, as the Syrian Armed Forces quickly advance towards the Turkish border with the Latakia Governorate.
Watching from afar is the Turkish Army, who can be seen manning their military outposts by the Syrian Arab Army’s in Jabal Al-Turkmen.
There is not much the Turkish Army can do these days because of the Russian military presence in northern Latakia.
Should the Turkish Army escalate the situation in northern Latakia, they will be involving the Russian Army directly.