Battle for Idlib Intensifies as the Syrian Army and Jaysh Al-Fatah Both Make Gains
The month of June has already gotten off to an odd start for the Syrian Armed Forces (Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Forces) and the conglomerate of Islamist militias known as “Jaysh Al-Fatah” (e.g. Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham) inside the Idlib Governorate, as both parties are gaining ground in the opposite direction of one another and further complicating the battlefield for this war’s observers.
On Friday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” – in coordination with the 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division and the 45th Regiment of the 1st Armored Division – carried out a powerful assault at the hills overlooking the strategic town of Zayzoun, killing 21 enemy combatants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda organization “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their affiliates before they imposed full control over the hilltop at Sid Al-Zayzoun.
In addition to their success at Sid Zayzoun, the Tiger Forces and the National Defense Forces (NDF) attacked the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham at Marj Al-Zihour, resulting in a series of fierce clashes before the latter Islamist groups were forced to withdraw from this collection of hills in the Idlib Governorate.
To counter the Syrian Armed Forces success, the militants from Jaysh Al-Fatah launched a fresh offensive at Jabal Sheikh ‘Ali near the recently captured city of Ariha; this assault is geared to capture the villages of Hosh Basinqoul, Basinqoul, and Taba’iq that are currently under the control of the National Defense Forces and the Syrian Arab Army.
According to social media activists from the Syrian Opposition, the militants from Jaysh Al-Fatah have already captured Hosh Basinqoul; however, there has been no official confirmation from the Syrian Armed Forces.