On January 9, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) withdrew from the villages of Rasm Hamideh, Astablat, Surouj and al-Adiliyah in southern Idlib under a pressure from the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces and their allies, according to pro-government sources.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham was not able to organize a strong defense in the area and started preparing for a fighting in the area of Abu al-Duhur.
On January 8, government forces liberated over 12 villages in the same area and deployed within about 10-12km from the Abu al-Duhur airbase. MORE DETAILS AND MAP
The advance of the Syrian Army is actively supported by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces. According to local sources, an intense bombing campaign and a lack of military equipment and anti-tank means are the key reasons behind the failure of the militants in southern Idlib.