Late on November 20, heavy clashes were reported in two fronts of the al-Zawiya Mount in the southern countryside of Syria’s Idlib.
Opposition sources said heavy artillery strikes by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) targeted a number of positions in the al-Zawiya Mount.
Soon after the strikes, a commando unit of the SAA attempted to infiltrate militants’ positions north of the government-held town of Milaja in the southern part of al-Zawiya. The infiltration attempt was repelled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
Later, a second SAA unit attempted to advance near the town of Fatterah in the exact same area. The unit clashed with militants of Ansar al-Tawhid, which is also linked to al-Qaeda.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, both sides sustained losses in the clashes near Milaja and Fatterah.
On March 5, Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire in Greater Idlib. Nevertheless, the situation in the region is still far from stable. The militants are launching attacks against government forces at an alarming rate.
The army’s infiltration attempts were likely “reconnaissance by fire,” a tactic used to uncover the enemies’ firing posts and fortifications. This means that a large ground operation by the SAA and its allies may be around the corner.
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