With the recent success in west Hama, the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces are poised to continue their gains, as Jabhat Al-Nusra retreats north towards the Idlib Governate. Jabhat Al-Nusra suffered substantial losses in west Hama, with well over 150 fighters killed-in-action (KIA) by the SAA’s Tiger Forces and NDF. For Jabhat Al-Nusra, their fight in west Hama has taken a turn for the worst: the Al-Nusra Front leader, Abu Mohammad Al-Jolani, has reportedly fled the area, while some 60 fighters surrendered to the Syrian Arab Army in Halfaya.

The Tiger Forces and NDF will now focus on the neighboring village of Al-Lataminah, where Islamic Front soldiers are determined to forestall the impending advance. If the Islamic Front loses Al-Lataminah; this will create a serious problem for their embattled comrades in the IF strongholds of Kafr Zita and Morek. Morek has been under siege for approximately two months; however, the Syrian Arab Army has been unable to retake the imperative village near the Idlib Governate. Like the Islamic Front, the battle for Morek is crucial for the Syrian Arab Army, as the village leads to the vitally strategic and rebel-occupied, Khan Sheikhoun.

In late Spring, the Syrian Arab Army lost the village of Khan Sheikhoun in the Idlib Governate; this loss had an adverse effect on the SAA troops in Hama and Aleppo. The M-5 Highway links the northern province of Aleppo to Damascus via Hama and Homs; it also passes through Idlib. However, the highway has been obstructed by the Islamic Front, who now man the deserted SAA checkpoints in Khan Sheikhoun. The ultimate goal will be to capture Kafr Zita and Morek, followed by a siege of Khan Sheikhoun and a renewed offensive in the predominately rebel-controlled Idlib Governate.

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