Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and several other armed groups in northern Syria are currently planning to launch a large scale offensive on the besieged towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in the eastern Idlib countryside, the Syrian news outlet Enab Baladi reported on July 14.
A source familiar with the situation told the pro-opposition outlet that the aim of the offensive is to force National Defense Forces (NDF) fighters and civilians inside the two towns to accept an evacuation agreement.
Local sources said that reconnaissance plans of the Russian Aerospace Forces are flying over al-Fu’ah and Kafriya around the hour. This indicates that Russia and its allies are well aware of HTS’ plans.
Thousands of civilians, including women and children, have been besieged inside the town towns since March of 2015. Over the last three years, the local NDF has managed to repel several attacks of HTS and its allies on the towns and killed dozens of militants.
Any new attack of HTS and its allies on al-Fu’ah and Kafriya will be a major violation of the de-escalation agreement in northern Syria. This may force the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies to resume their military operations in the governorate of Idlib.