Late on January 18, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched yet another ground attack in the southeastern countryside of Idlib.
Opposition sources said that army troops are now attempting to storm the hilltop of Mustayf. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies recaptured the hilltop and two nearby towns in the last two days following a series of successful counter-attacks.
HTS’s news network, Iba’a, confirmed that heavy clashes are taking place around Mustayf, claiming that that the SAA is sustaining losses.
The ongoing attack on Mustayf appears to be limited. So far, no Syrian or Russian airstrikes has been reported in the region.
The attack could be nothing more than reconnaissance by fire in preparation for a wider attack. The SAA’s 25th Special Forces Division, previously known as the Tiger Forces, has been amassing its troops in southeast Idlib for the last two weeks.