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International Military Review – Syria, Dec. 18, 2015

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Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah conduct an encirclement operation on the north of Latakia Governorate against Turkestan Islamic Party and al-Nusra Front forces. Encircling of the enemy forces is executed simultaneously with the raining down destruction of the encircled groups by Syrian and Russian aviation.

On Thursday evening the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by the National Defense Forces (NDF) captured Jabal Al-Sayyid. This already forced the militants to withdraw towards the northern mountainside of Jabal Al-Turkmen. This morning clashes were observed in Jabal Al-Turkmen, Jabal Al-Akrad and Jabal Al-Zahiyah where the pro-government forces are continuing offensive actions.

SouthFront: Analysis&Intelligence supposes that the task of the final operational encirclement on the north of Latakia Governorate will be accomplished by Syrian governmental forces within 6-7 days.

The SAA and its allies advanced on the terrorists’ positions in the city of Aleppo on Thursday. The loyalists’ forces destroyed terrorists in the neighborhoods of al-Lairamoun, al-Firdous and Bani Zaid. Also clashes were observed in the districts of al-Maasaraniyeh, al-Sheikh Lutfi and Bustan al-Basha.

Separately, the SAA has destroyed the ISIS strongholds and fortifications in the villages of Najjara and al-Jaberiyeh in the Eastern part of Aleppo province. 10 militants were killed in the attacks. Militants’ weapons and machine gun-equipped vehicles were also destroyed.

Twelve US F-15 fighter jets deployed temporarily in Turkey’s Incirlik air base last month returned to their Lakenheath airbase in the UK on Wednesday. The US European Command (EUCOM) said that the temporary deployment strengthened interoperability of the US and Turkish air forces in defending Turkish airspace and conducting alleged operations against ISIS. The EUCOM stated that the end of F-15 deployments does not indicate a reduction in operations against ISIS. However, it is a remarkable move amid the cooling of the US-Turkish relations.

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