On January 5, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, captured the villages of Elmashad, Mreijeb Elmashad, Umm Rajim and Khaznah Hill in southeastern Idlib, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.
The SAA is now only 4km south of the strategic town of Sinjar. Some Syrian pro-government activists even claimed that the SAA has reached the vicinity of the town. However, these claims are yet to be confirmed.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies didn’t conduct any defensive operations to counter the SAA advance in the southeastern Idlib countryside, according to Syrian oppositions sources. Some Syrian oppositions activists went as far as claiming that HTS is handing over its positions to the SAA. Some others claimed that HTS’ religious seculars are calling on the civilians to join and to support HTS, as many of its fighters are fleeing the battlefield.
Pro-government sources reported that HTS started redeploying its ammunition and weapons from the towns of Sinjar and Khan Shaykhun to more safer areas in northern Idlib. This move shows that HTS is in a very complicated situation in the area.