On November 12, the Syrian government and opposition opened a part of the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway (M5), according to Syrian oppositions sources.
Ths opened part of the highway links the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)-held town of Suran with the the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)-held Murak in the northern Hama countryside.
According to opposition sources, this part of the M5 highway was opened to allow the shipping of different merchandise and food between the government-held and opposition-held areas in northern Syria.
Syrian opposition activists revealed that the new road is a replacement for an old road that passed through Abu Dali village in the northern Hama countryside. Abu Dali road was closed after HTS captured the village on October 8.
The reopening of this part of the M5 highway poses serious security threats, as HTS may use the highway to smuggle weapons into the Syrian government areas or even to sneak in booby trapped cars. However, such things rarely happened back when Abu Dali road was open due to the strict security measures of the Syrian government.
The aim of such roads is to improve the humanitarian situation in the opposition-held areas and to make them depend less on Turkey.
The M5 highway links Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idlib and Aleppo. It is considered one of the most strategic highways in Syria. The M5 has been closed for 6 years now. If the Syrian ARmy wants to reopen it fully, it should recapture the southwestern Aleppo countryside, and the northern Homs countryside.