Watch: The final battle for Idlib (29 January 2020)

This is a quick update on the recent developments in Idlib and Aleppo and the offensive of the Syrian Army against the Islamist terrorists there.

For several months, the Syrian Army is trying to advance in Idlib, but after years of military, financial and intelligence support by regional and international powers to the Al-Qaeda terrorists, it was important for the Syrian government to diversify its efforts between military and diplomacy. On the diplomatic level, after getting the consent of Damascus, Moscow hold rounds of talks with Ankara and reached to several agreements, particularly the Astana and Sochi processes, which affirmed Syria’s right to restore its territories, disarm the radical jihadists and reopen the M4 and M5 highways. Only two weeks ago, the head of Syria’s National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk met with Turkey’s Head of National Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan on the sidelines of a meeting in Moscow. According to Syria’s official news agency SANA, at the tripartite meeting (Syrian, Russian, Turkish), the Syrian side called on the Turkish side to fully commit to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and the immediate and complete withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces from all Syrian lands. Mamlouk also urged the other side to fulfil its obligations under the Sochi Agreement regarding Idlib, especially with regards to clearing the region of terrorists and heavy weapons and opening the Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama roads.

This is on the diplomatic level. On the military side, the recent offensive of the Syrian Army from south -western Aleppo and south-eastern Idlib indicate that the priority of the SAA is to capture the M5 highway, which basically means linking Syria’s industrial city of Aleppo to Idlib, Hama, Homs and Damascus. It is true that the Syrian Army liberated the city of Aleppo, but the suburbs are still occupied and most importantly the city doesn’t have access to Azaz and then to Turkey, and doesn’t have access to other main cities. Therefore, even if Aleppo is reconstructed in the upcoming years and the industry is recovered, the businessmen and industrialists of Aleppo cannot simply export their goods. But this could change in the upcoming few months because the Syrian Army is advancing from two axis and as we see from the map of control, the battle for the strategic city of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, 33 km south of Idlib, has ended in a devastating defeat for the jihadi terrorists. The strategy of the Syrian Army after Ma’arat Al-Nu’man is to advance towards Saraqeb, and maybe wait for the advancing troops from southern Aleppo to meet somewhere on the M5 highway. Furthermore, the SAA might advance to Ariha to create a foothold on the M4 highway which links Aleppo to the coastal cities. It is been proven for years that capturing M4 through advancing from the axis of Kabani is very very difficult, therefore the SAA might try to capture the M4 from a different axis. If this plan doesn’t work, then the only way is to make a big sacrifice and advance towards Kabani hills and later to Jisr Shughour. But I guarantee this would be very bloody and costly because the area is full of multinational terrorists, mainly Uyghur and Chechen militants.

This was a quick update for you on the current offensive in Idlib and Aleppo countrysides. A few years ago, it sounded insane to believe that the Syrian Army will liberate every inch of the country, but today it’s realistic and we can say President Assad is keeping his promise.

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