On February 27, Turkish-backed militants advanced further around Saraqib city in southern Idlib amid a collapse in the remaining Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions there.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the National Front for Liberation (NFL) imposed control of the towns of Dadikh, Jawbas and Kafr Battikh, northwest and west of Saraqib. As usual, the Turkish artillery provided the militants with fire support.
HTS, the NFL and several al-Qaeda factions captured Saraqib city in the early morning in a rapid attack that lasted for few hours only. The SAA didn’t show any real resistance.
The remaining SAA positions around Saraqib appear to be collapsing. The low morale of the troops and bad decisions by field commanders there were most likely the cause behind this situation. Forces in Saraqib were well-armed and provided with sufficient fire support by the Syrian artillery and the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS).
Pro-government sources are now reporting that the army is preparing a large counter-attack to recapture Saraqib city and reopen the M5 highway.