On January 26, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advanced to the northeast of the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man in southeast Idlib, imposing control of a new town.
Pro-government sources said the SAA captured the town of Ghadqah after a fierce battle with al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies. Syrian and Russian warplanes provided the army with close air support.
A day earlier, army troops reached the outskirt of Ma`arat al-Nu`man after liberating the towns of Ma’ar Shamshah and Talmenes. The city, which is the biggest urban center in southeast Idlib, is the main target of the ongoing military operation in the region.
HTS and its allies have failed to stop or even slow down the army’s advance, so far. The terrorist groups are reportedly sustaining heavy losses.
The SAA is now stationed less than 700 meters from the eastern districts of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. However, an attack on the city remains highly unlikely now, as the army needs to secure its perimeter first.