The militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their ally “Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham” made substantial gains in the northern and western axes of Idlib City, capturing most of Hara North and the fields Hara West.
Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham took advantage of the National Defense Forces (NDF) retreat from the northern silos after a field commander ordered a withdrawal during the flurry of attacks by the militant groups.
If the militant groups can capture the rest of Hara North, the downtown area will come under siege from the northern perimeter; this would officially be the furthest the militant groups have infiltrated into the city in the last three years.
Despite the militant gains, another contingent from the NDF arrived in Idlib City to prepare for the counter-offensive that was launched at 6 A.M. Damascus Time in the Hara North Quarter.
According to a military source, the counter-offensive is under way in Idlib City; if the NDF is unable to reclaim the territory it lost on Friday, the latter will have to withdraw south to the outskirts of the city.
The source further added that a mass diaspora of civilians have already made their way south in order to avoid the violence that has engulfed the city.
While the overall death toll is unknown for the militant groups, sources have confirmed the identities of 98 enemy combatants, along with 73 NDF fighters.