Syrian War Report – January 8, 2018: Syrian Army Liberates Large Area, Key Town In Southern Idlib

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Last weekend, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s defense collapsed in southern Idlib. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Tiger Forces liberated the important town of Sinjar and the nearby villages including al-Nasiriyah, Jabal al-Kafi, Lubaida, Hawa, Sheikh Barakeh, Umm Mweilat, Tell Amara, Rasm Saaed, Kafrayya and Mutawassitah.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) did little to defend its positions in the area but released a statement accusing other militant groups of betraying the HTS effort to repel the SAA advance. The group’s leadership, led by HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani, also held a meeting to discuss the group failure in southern Idlib.

On January 8, the SAA and the NDF continued advancing on HTS positions in the direction of the Abu al-Duhur Airbase.

On January 7, a heavy VBIED exploded on the al-Thalathin street in the western part of Idlib city. The VBIED reportedly targeted the headquarters of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group Ajnad Caucasus. 25 civilians and militants were killed and many others were injured.

The Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen reported referring opposition activists that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham carried out the VBIED attack as a punishment to Ajnah Caucasus because its members had fled the battlefield in southeastern Idlib.

The collapse of the militants’ defense in southern Idlib led to the growth of internal tensions among militant groups operating in the province.

On January 7, In Eastern Ghouta, government forces broke a siege imposed by Ahrar al-Sham and HTS on the Armoured Vehicles Base. The SAA had captured the Grain mills area northwest of the base and attacked positions of Ahrar al-Sham in the northern part of Harasta. The advance was actively supported by the Syrian Air Force. On January 8, the SAA further advanced in an attempt to secure the recent gain.

On January 7, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an attack to capture Gharanij from ISIS in southeastern Deir Ezzor. According to an Arab SDF unit, al-Shaitat Lightning, the US-backed force had opened a route to allow ISIS members to withdraw from the area.

Separately, the SDF announced that its members had repelled an ISIS attack on al-Bahra and killed 27 ISIS members and downed 3 UAVs.

The UK-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing an anonymous official that the US is preparing to recognize the SDF administration as the legitimate authority in eastern Syria. The preparations include empowering local councils, backing reconstruction efforts, training of government agency workers, improving public services and infrastructure. According to pro-government activists, these steps will eventually lead to establishing a US-controlled semi-independent state in the SDF-held area.

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  • Len Zegelink

    kurd are the slave,s of the zionists.rats

    • Smith Ricky

      Just like the wahabbis

      • Attrition47

        No, the zionist antisemites are the creatures of American Caesar.

    • Jonathan Cohen

      ABORTION RIGHTS IN GHARANIJ!

  • Attrition47

    How long will it be before the Kurds are sold out by the Washington Barbarians?

    • χρηστος

      already done that……check out Turkish intervention in Iblid……they can attack them any time they want, they divided the 2 parts of SDF land……where were the precious allies then?and where are they now?

  • Nigel Maund

    The US recognition of an SDF Government which is part of a Sovereign State is totally illegal and a huge provocation. Let’s now see how the Syrian Government, Iranians, Hezbollah and Russia unhinge this situation over the remainder of 2018.

    • northerntruthseeker .

      Lets hope so.. For right now the criminal US government is absolutely flooding that region with their agents and a massive amount of ordinance…

      I also must point out that the US is still illegally entrenched in the Al Tanf area and has been secretly building up a lot of military force there as well…. The only reason why they are still there is obvious, for they are still hoping for a ‘false flag’ somewhere to be blamed on Assad and then use that Al Tanf force as their jumping off point for an “invasion” of Syria….

      • Nigel Maund

        Thanks NTS! Very good comments and analysis of the likely situation. This makes a great deal of sense and shows that the US – UK – KSA – Israel Axis will never accept defeat in Syria and they are utterly commited to “Regime Change” at any price!!

    • gustavo

      I am sure Syria is in agreement with this ¿ why ? SAA had the oportunity to stop SDF to move south-east at Deir-Ezzor, Al-Mayadin and Al Bukamal and did NOTHING to stop SDF to get its Omar oil field. Syria-Russia-Hezbola-Iran had plenty of time and weapons to stop SDF and did nothing to stop it.

      • χρηστος

        not entirely true……they tried but ISIS gave huge resistance….on the the side of the river SDF was having a picnic….. so advancing fast from the one side of the river was going ‘snail speed’ ,crossing the river made them confront SDF forces……dead end…..so they made a deal….a strategic victory in my opinion….sdf will ensure their friends ISIS arent eliminated by SAA, they will occupy land of course BUT….SAA wont waste resources and after the end of the war its impossible that SDF will maintain such a large area. it will be a good bargaining card along with the oil fields but thats as far as it goes. SAA couldnt clear this whole area. ISIS had all the help it needed by SDF (changing uniforms).

        • dutchnational

          In fact SDF is now larger then SAA (100+k vs 50 to 80k) then SAA proper and lossess of SAA are much higher than SDF while SDF has many more volonteers then SAA. So soon SDF will be twice the numbers of SAA and US is going to deliver arms for a 20 to 30k expansion in 2018.

          In Raqqah already some 3 to 4k volonteers have been trained as police and security guards.

          In Tabqah, liberated in may, already over a thousand locals have been trained as SDF fighters, an all female unit has been started there. Soon Raqqah and DeZ countryside will start to produce more and more fighters for the RMC and DMC or even straight into YPG/YPJ forces. SDF will try to not train tribal forces but regional forces.

          They are rooting out armed sleeper cells, both of Assad loyalists and IS loyalists.

          • χρηστος

            ok but you cant employ everyone a a fighter. a state has to have funding. so either israel and usa will give huge amounts of money or else…..the strenght of SDF is growing because ISIS, FSA and other butchers are joining …..Arabs dont like to be under Kurdish rule…you will see….they will not survive if they dont play nice with Assad…..Turkey is waiting for them in the corner….

  • Icarus Tanović

    Sdf won’t make ANY semi-independent state inside Syria. Period.

  • Tudor Miron

    Jihadi rats in panic mode (eating each other). Good.

  • Eskandar Black

    I wonder if the jihadis in the pocket to the east will ask for buses to the pocket to the west.

  • dutchnational

    The fight around Gharanij has turned very fierce. Amid rumours of counterattacks by IS it seems, as reported by IS, maybe up to thirty SDF fighters were killed.

    At the same time Anha reports the fights there are largely successfull with over 150 IS killed. With lossess like that, one can expect the fights there to end soon, unless IS can get reinforcements in.