On January 20, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and Hezbollah fully secured the strategic Abu Duhur airbase in the eastern Idlib countryside after they entered it earlier on the same day, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.
The source added that the SAA also recaptured the villages and hills of Zifr Segir, Zifr Kebir, Dabshiyah, Tell Salmu Janoubi, Rasm Abed and Buwaytiyah south and southwest of the Abu Duhur airbase from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Prior to launching their final attack on the Abu Duhur airbase, the SAA units in southwestern Aleppo reached the positions of the Tiger Forces east of the airbase after capturing Umm Tinah village. This maneuver allowed the SAA and its allies to storm the airbase form the southern and eastern directions simultaneously.
From its side, HTS and its allies launched another counter-attack against the SAA southwest of the Abu Duhur airbase and captured the villages of Suruj and Rubay’ah, according to the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a. The source also reported that HTS targeted a key position of the SAA in Suruj with a VBIED during the first phase of the counter attack.
The new counter-attack of HTS will likely fail like the previous ones, as the SAA and its allies deployed large forces in southern Idlib to repel such attacks. However, if HTS advances further, it may open a route that will allow ISIS fighters to escape from their pocket in the northeastern Hama countryside.