The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled three militants’ attacks around the so-called Greater Idlib region over the last 24 hours, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced late on December 18.
In an official statement, the center said that the attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, Horas al-Din and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army. The attacks targeted government held areas in southwest Aleppo and southeast Idlib.
“At 3:00 p.m. the positions of the units of the Syrian Armed Forces in the area of the settlement of Tamana in Idlib province were attacked by a group of militants of about 40 people with the support of 2 tanks and 1 armored personnel carrier.
At 3:30 p.m., up to 60 members of illegal armed groups supported by 1 tank and 2 armored personnel carriers, having made a pass in a minefield, attempted to seize the height north of Zaitun, Idlib province. Syrian government units repelled all attacks, destroyed 1 tank and 1 armored personnel carrier of terrorists.
At 5:20 p.m., after a massive shelling of positions of government forces from multiple launch rocket systems and artillery, up to 200 militants supported by 10 cross-country vehicles with large-caliber weapons mounted on them attacked the positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the vicinity of the settlements Umm Khalahil and Zarzur of Idlib province. When repelling the attack, 3 pickups of militants were destroyed,” the statement reads.
According to the Russian reconciliation center, three Syrian service members were killed and at least 25 others were injured as a result of these attacks.
These attacks, which were launched from the Turkish-observed demilitarized zone, represent a major violation of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib. The ceasefire was imposed by the SAA and Russian forces last September.
Recent reports indicate that the SAA is now ready to launch a large-scale military operation in Greater Idlib, with the aim of reopening the M5 highway. Turkey promised to reopen the strategic highway more than a year ago. However, this is yet to happen.
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