On January 3, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Force, captured the villages of Rajmel Mashraf, Umm Sehrij, Dreibiyeh and the Umm Sehrij train station in southeastern Idlib, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.
Earlier Syrian pro-government sources, reported that the SAA captured seven other villages, also in the southeastern Idlib countryside.
Thus, the SAA is now only 7km south of the strategic town of Sinjar in southeastern Idlib. The strategic town is located on the Hama-Aleppo highway, only 15km south of the Abu Duhur airbase – the main target of the current SAA military operation.
Meanwhile, the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)-linked news agency Iba’a reported that HTS fighters had destroyed a tank of the SAA with a Bulgarian-made 9M111M Faktoria anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). This type of missiles had been supplied with the US help to several Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups allied to the al-Qaeda-affiliated HTS since 2014.
So far, HTS and its allies have failed to stop or even to slow down the advance of the SAA and the Tiger Forces in southern Idlib. This proves that today HTS is only a shadow of what it used to be before the start of the Russian military operation in 2015.