Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced on January 19 that its militants had repelled yet another attack by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in southeast Idlib.
The new army attack, which was launched in the late hours of January 18, targeted the hilltop of Mustayf. HTS and its allies recaptured the hilltop from government forces two days ago.
“The Mujahedeen foiled four advance attempts by Russian militias on the hilltop of Mustayf,” a military source in HTS told the group’s news network, Iba’a.
According to Iba’a claims, the SAA sustained “heavy losses” in lives during the attack attempt. These claims have not been verified yet by any neutral source.
The SAA’s attack on Mustayf appeared to be nothing more than reconnaissance by fire, possibly in preparations for a larger attack.
In the last few weeks, the army’s 25th Special Forces Division amassed its troops in southeast Idlib, while the 4th Division deployed a large strike force in southwest Aleppo. The elite units are most likely preparing to launch a large-scale operation.