Militants in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib were preparing to launch an attack on the government-held city of Saraqib, U-News reported on August 13, citing a military source.
Saraqib is located on the M5 highway which links the capital, Damascus, with Aleppo. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies liberated the city last March after a fierce battle with Turkish forces. Any new attack on the city will once again block the M5.
“Armed groups are preparing to launch an attack on SAA positions on the southern axis of Saraqib in southern Idlib,” the military source told U-News, without providing any further details.
Saraqib is currently held by the SAA’s elite 25th Special Forces Division, “Tiger Forces.” Lebanon’s Hezbollah also maintains large forces in the city and its vicinity.
The areas north and west of the city are occupied by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the National Front for Liberation and small al-Qaeda-affiliated factions. The Turkish military has a series of positions and camps North of the city.
A number of recent reports revealed that the SAA and its allies were planning to launch a new ground operation in the southern part of Greater Idlib.
The region’s militants, who has a strategy based on the idea that “the best defense is a good offense,” may be preparing to launch a preemptive attack. This would lead to an escalation and a new confrontation between the SAA and the Turkish military.