On May 2, a prominent field commander of the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham Movement was killed in a landmine explosion in the southern Idlib countryside.
The commander, known as “Abu ‘Arib,” was reportedly on a reconnaissance mission when he entered a minefield set by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The commander immediately died after stepping on an anti-personnel mine.
According to sources in Ahrar al-Sham, Abu ‘Arib was one of the field commanders leading the battle against the army in northern Lattakia over the last year.
A few hours after the death of Abu ‘Arib, the SAA artillery pounded militants’ positions in the town of Sufuhon, Fatterah and Fleifel. The army targeted the same region a day earlier.
The death of Abu ‘Arib confirms that Greater Idlib militants are still preparing to carry out new attacks. The SAA, which is now targeted the region again, appears to be well-aware of this growing threat.
Any large attack on the SAA may lead to the collapse of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, that was brokered by Russia and Turkey on March 5.