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Syrian War Report – January 15-17, 2020: Offensive Operations In Southern Idlib Resumed

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Syrian War Report – January 15-17, 2020: Offensive Operations In Southern Idlib Resumed

Late on January 15, pro-government forces, led by the 25th Special Mission Forces Division, resumed their offensive operations in Greater Idlib. Since then, they have taken control of several villages including Barsah, Nouhiya, Tell Khatrah, and Khirbat Dawud, west of the Abu al-Duhur airbase. The airbase liberated in January 2018 became a useful foothold for army units operating in the area.

On January 16, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham launched a counter-offensive recapturing Abu Jurf. However, it was not able to deliver any notable blow to the advancing government troops.

The ground operation followed resumption of airstrikes on weapon depots and fortified positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and other radical groups. On January 15, the Syrian Air Force bombed the industrial zone and the al-Hal area of Idlib city destroying multiple vehicles and several buildings. Airstrikes were also reported near Ma`arat al-Nu`man, Ma’ar Shoreen, Tell Kersyan and other areas along the M5 highway. Over 20 airstrikes hit targets in southwest of Aleppo city that recently became the target of regular shelling from Turkish-backed militant groups. The especially intense shelling took place on January 16, with more than two dozens of rockets pounding the city.

Pro-government sources speculate that southwestern Aleppo will become the target of the large-scale army offensive. Meanwhile, the army is obliterating salient militant positions on the frontline east of the M5 highway. This is needed to ease future military efforts to retake the highway from the radicals and liberate Maarat al-Numan, Khan al-Sobol and Saraqib. The developments of the last two years demonstrated that despite any ceasefire and de-escalation agreements, the highway will remain closed as long as militants control these three towns.

Turkey and Russia also seem to be preparing for a new round of violence in Greater Idlib. Turkish Minister Hulusi Akar said on January 15 that Ankara and Moscow were in talks to establish a “security zone” to allow civilians to take shelter during the winter. He claimed that the reason is that civilians do not want to go to government-controlled areas. Pro-Damascus sources say that al-Qaeda-linked militants just sabotage the exit of civilians via humanitarian corridors, just under the nose of Turkish observation points.

On January 15, ISIS cells ambushed a group of Republican Guard troops in southern Deir Ezzor. The terrorists destroyed a BRDM-2 vehicle and a mini truck, and killed at least 9 soldiers. Earlier on the same day, the Israeli Air Force carried out a strike on the T4 airport in Homs province. The Syrian Air Defense reportedly intercepted several missiles, but at least 4 of them hit the target.

The T4 airport is the base for Iranian-backed operations against ISIS the central part of Syria as well as hosts Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles.

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  • ©igare☘☘e👽Sm⚽️k🚬ng🦉Man️🎲

    As soon as Idlib is cleared of the turkish mercenary scum Russia will return to its backing of Haftar in Libya.
    Clock is tiking for Erdogan …and as soon as he is gone everything will change both in Syria and in Libya.

  • Red Pilled ThoughtCrimes

    God Bless Russia

    • Karen Bartlett

      Ameen.

  • Karen Bartlett

    Go, Syria, go, Iran, go, Russia!

  • Perspective has to be given. Assad’s leniency in Syria after assuming power in 2000 is what gave people the courage to speak out against the regime. Assad was listening and kind. Syrian exiles from the Muslim Brotherhood were quietly working behind the scenes in order to enact a stronger role of Islam in Syria. There were others who believed in a more secular type of government, but the ultra religious Islamists were the main opposition. Dominant Islamic groups tend to become extremists rather quickly. ISIS, Al-Queda the Muslim Brotherhood are all examples of radical groups wishing for Islam to play a stronger role in politics. Radical Islamists, aka terrorists, oppress “moderates” who wish to see secular governance.

    Assad’s model of governance allows freedom of religion to Christians Druze Shia Sunni and Alawites together. Does the Syrian Opposition wish to see Syria become a Sunni Islamic state with Sharia law and political Islam as the law of the land? Does the opposition want Syria to become a secular nation where religion plays no part in society? Neither of those models will work. The first one will cause resistance within the religious minorities, the latter will create more extremists. Assad’s model of governance is the most reasonable form of government in Syria. I see no argument to the contrary. God be with the Syrian Army and may God help the Syrian Army rid Syria of this Insurgency. Amen.