Printed Edition ‖ No.: 229
Enab Baladi – Idlib
Opposition factions affiliated in the operation room of “Jaish al-Fatah” regained lead in conducting counteroffensive to recover the sites they have lost for Assad’s forces at the peak of Russian intervention. They managed to turn the military equation in the southern countryside of Aleppo in their favor, by controlling strategic sites and hills such as; Eiss hill, as well as the towns of Khan Touman and Khalsa.
“Jaish al-Fatah” did not stop at this limit, they mounted an unexpected offensive in the southern countryside of Lattakia, specifically in the strategic spot of “Kinsabba” in the Kurdish mountain, and indeed, they recovered control over the town, and tightened it over crucial hills, like Shalef and Malek.
Following the recent achievements, “Jaish al-Fatah” pursued a prudent method in repelling attacks, turning to maintaining points of contact, as well as securing “liberated” areas, in order to thwart any attack by Assad’s forces in case they considered recovering these areas, in addition to steering their destination towards northern countryside of Aleppo, to prevent the regime from controlling Castello’s road, thus tightening the siege of the city.
In this report, we clarify the four new expected destinations of “Jaish al-Fatah” within the next few days; they are either going to secure their areas or open new fronts.
Northern countryside of Aleppo and preventing its siege
Mohammad Abu Hasan, military commander in “al-Fatah”, talked to Enab Baladi about the military situation in the northern countryside of Aleppo, “the northern countryside of Aleppo witnessed an obvious progress for Assad’s forces and his militia during the Russian attack; they were able to reach the towns of Nebol and Zahraa, cutting the road between the province of Idlib and the liberated areas to the north of Aleppo, in addition to attacking the northern countryside through Mallah axis in an attempt to reach Castello road and besieging Aleppo city.”
Abu Hasan presumes the next destination of “Jaish al-Fatah” to be the northern countryside of Aleppo, driven by several reason, most importantly “securing the road of Castello, preventing Assad’s forces from controlling it and besieging 400 thousand civilian inside the city of Aleppo”, adding “if this happens, a real disaster will happen in the area, therefore, I believe Fatah factions will fully head towards the north of Aleppo, and temporarily cease work of other fronts.”
The other goal of heading towards the northern countryside lies in opening a road for the areas under the opposition control in the north of Aleppo, and re-siege the towns of Nebol and Zahraa, according to the military commander, stressing that “the most important move right now is preventing the siege of Aleppo.”
Southern countryside of Aleppo…opening an alternative road to Aleppo
After “Jaish al-Fatah” recovered large areas in the southern countryside of Aleppo, they approached neighborhoods in Aleppo under control of the opposition, now they are only 8 kilometers away from the cement factory in Sheikh Saeed neighborhood, to be able then to access the “liberated” areas inside Aleppo.
Abu Alyazeed Taftanaz, military media official of Islamic “Ahrar al-Sham” movement, explained that the southern countryside of Aleppo’s file is on the negotiation table of “al-Fatah”, and that the possibility of taking action is linked to the situation on Castello road. He added to Enab Baladi saying “if they lose the road, may Allah forbid that, it is certain that Jaish al-Fatah will seek opening an alternative road, through taking over the two villages of Al-Hwez and Sabiqyyeh, then to the town of Waddihi, to reach the cement factory.”
Abu Alyazeed pointed to the importance of such a move; “through the southern road, we can avoid Aleppo’s complete besiege, in addition to besieging Assad’s forces and militias inside the areas of his control in Aleppo city, thus turning things in favor of the opposition in Aleppo.”
The military media official of the movement stressed the importance of moving towards opening the southern road, “if that happens and Aleppo’s road was open, then “al-Fatah” will be very close to the Mountain of Azzan, overlooking Atharya – Khanser road, which is the essential artery to Assad’s forces towards Aleppo, in this way, we would surround Assad’s forces and all of his militias in the entire province of Aleppo.”
However, “Abu Alyazeed” pointed at the same time to the difficulty of this move, “it needs great work and effort”, and ended by saying “after liberating the most difficult points in the southern countryside, Jaish al-Fatah will not find this difficult.”
Northern countryside of Lattakia and moving forward
Media and field activist in Lattakia’s countryside Ahmad Al-Sahli, talked to Enab Baladi about the importance of the battle in Lattakia and the necessity of proceeding it until they recover town of Salma in the Kurdish Mountain, he said “the town of Salma is considered the first symbol in the Syrian coast, not to mention its strategic importance; so having control over Salma will give Hemiemiem airport and town of Qardaha back to the opposition’s artillery.”
Al-Sahli believes that it is time for “Jaish al-Fatah” to control the high hill of Al-Ghazala in the northern countryside, however, the crisis in the countryside of Aleppo might delay that plan, according to him. He added “right now, we have secured points of contact with Assad’s forces, in order to protect areas that have been liberated, and to prevent militias from regaining control over Kinsabba.”
Hama Province… a postponed priority for “Jaish al-Fatah”
Although the battle of Hama has been repeatedly postponed for reasons that might be reasonable, the last of which was prior the progress of the regime in the southern countryside of Aleppo, but “Jaish al-Fatah” keeps controlling the city in his list of priorities and next moves.
Mohammad Al-Hasan, an Official of batteries artillery in “Jaish al-Fatah”, talked to Enab Baladi about reasons behind having Hama city at the top of the operation room’s priority list, “Hama city is considered the main center for Assad’s forces; all of the southern Syrian battles are launched from Hama, military supplies are also sent and distributed in Syria from there, since it is a middle area and a connecting point to all provinces, not to mention having the second largest military airport in Syria located to its outskirts, which enhances its importance for the Syrian regime.”
Al-Hasan stressed that attacking regime’s sites in Hama will be a fatal blow to his forces. He presented an explanation of the targets they are hoping to take over, “firstly cutting the regime’s road towards Aleppo completely, thus ceasing his attacks in the province, in addition to controlling Hama city, which is currently considered the most important economic center for Assad, due to the influx of thousands of displaced people to Hama, besides to the availability of a fertile trading environment, which in turn states the economic collapse of the regime.”
The military official carried on to talk about distant targets that might be achieved by Hama’s battle, and those are “breaking the siege of both countryside of southern Hama and southern Homs, and reaching the outskirts of Homs – Tartous road that links the province of Damascus and the Syrian coast”, however, he agreed with his colleagues that recent developments in northern countryside of Aleppo will put breaking the siege of the city as a priority for “Jaish al-Fatah”, as well as, securing the controlled areas in full.”
The operation room of “Jaish al-Fatah” has been restructured almost three months ago, to begin their military operations achieving huge gains in a record period, despite the unlimited Russian and Iranian support, as well as bringing in militias from at least six countries, in order to assist in resolving the battles in favor of the Syrian regime and recover Aleppo to his rule.