On January 26, pro-government activists shared a video of a Syrian T-72B3 battle tank targeting the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man in southeast Idlib.
The video shows the tank’s crew tracking and targeting several militants as they move in the eastern and southeastern districts of the city.
The T-72B3 is an upgraded variant of the T-72B. The battle tank is equipped with the Sosna-U multichannel gunner’s sight, a new digital VHF radio, an improved autoloader and a 2A46M-5 gun to accommodate new ammunition. Russia supplied several tanks of this type to Syria over the last few years.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) reached the outskirt of Ma`arat al-Nu`man late on January 25, after liberating the towns of Ma’ar Shamshah and Talmenes. Army troops are now less than 700 meters away from the city’s center.
Ma`arat al-Nu`man, the biggest urban center in southeast Idlib, is the main target of the army’s large-scale operation in the region. The city controls the strategic M5 highway, which links the capital, Damascus, with the country’s industrial hub, Aleppo city.