On January 29, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advanced towards the city of Saraqib in the southeastern Idlib countryside.
The army imposed control of the towns of al-Qahira, al-Jaradah and Khan Assubul. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies withdrew from the three towns without showing any real resistance.
SAA forces are now only 9 km away from Saraqib’s city center, the next target of the ongoing military operation in southeast Idlib. The city is located on the M5 highway, which links the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo.
A day earlier, the army liberated the biggest urban center on the strategic highway, Ma`arat al-Nu`man city. The capture of the city was a major blow to HTS and its allies.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies appear to be unabpe to stop the SAA’s rapid advance in southeast Idlib if no ‘unexpected; ceasefire is imposed. Militants reportedly suffered serious losses during the last two weeks, with some sources reporting the death of more than 150 fighters.