On January 20, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, captured the villages of al-Jaffrah, Mashrafat al-Haj, Masharafat al-Shirbatji, Anadan al-Sheikh, Tarfawi, Abu Majahr, Hayaniyah, Rabiyat al-Hayaya, Ziara and Abu Jura northeast of the Abu Duhur airbase in the southwestern Aleppo countryside, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition sources, reported that Russian warplanes conducted dozens of airstrikes against the remaining positions of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the town of Abu Duhur west of the airbase. The SAA will likely work to secure the heights north of the town before storming it.
From its side, HTS and its allies didn’t conduct any new operations against the SAA in southern Idlib. This could mean that the SAA and its allies repelled their new counter-attack that was launched earlier.
The next target of the SAA is to secure dozens of villages between the Abu Duhur airbase and the town of Hader 20km north of it, according to Syrian pro-government activists. After securing these villages, the SAA backed by Hezbollah will likely launch a military operation to break the siege of HTS on the towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in eastern Idlib, 28km west of Hader.
The upcoming military operation of the SAA in the eastern Idlib countryside will likely be much harder than Abu Duhur operation. As Fu’ah and Kafriya towns are surrounded by the main strongholds of HTS in Idlib governorate – Taftanaz, Binnish and Ma’arrat Misrin towns.