The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) elite 4th Division is redeploying units from northern Lattakia to the countryside of Aleppo amid reports of a large-scale military operation in the region.
Pro-government activists released on January 1 and 2 photos showing troops, logistic supplies and heavy weapons of the 4th Division on the way to Aleppo.
The 4th Division was sent to northern Lattakia last year with the aim of securing key hilltops there. However, after many attacks on the mountainous region, the unit, which is specialized to urban warfare, failed to accomplish its mission.
Last month, a Syrian military source told the Beirut-based 180o Post that the SAA is preparing to launch a large-scale military operation in the western Aleppo countryside. According to the source, the attack in the region will complement the ongoing operation in southeast Idlib, which is aimed at reopening the M5 highway.
Several terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), are present in western Aleppo. The Turkish military also maintains three observation posts in the region.
The redeployment of the 4th Division to Aleppo confirms that the army is preparing to launch a military operation there. However, it is still unclear when such an operation would begin.