Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces have deployed reinforcements in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on December 12.
The fresh reinforcements were deployed in the town of Saraqib and its outskirts, along the M5 highway. The highway, which was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies earlier this year, links Damascus with Aleppo.
“Vehicles loaded with fighters as well as military and logistic equipment coming from Aleppo’s southern countryside arrived in Saraqib,” the SOHR said. “This was the second batch of reinforcements sent by the militias [Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces] this week.
Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces maintain a series of positions between the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man in southern Idlib and the southern countryside of Aleppo.
During the recent battle in Greater Idlib, Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces liberated several areas in southern and western Aleppo. They also played a key role in the defensive operations around Saraqib.
The deployment of reinforcements in Saraqib may be a sign of nearing military escalation in Greater Idlib. The SAA and its allies may be preparing to resume their operations in the region. Another possibility is that Turkey and its proxies are planning to attack the M5 highway.
Earlier this week, Turkish forces withdrew from a number of posts besieged by Syrian government forces along the M5 highway. This freed up a sizable Turkish force.
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