Syria steps up attacks on opposition stronghold in Idlib
According to a new analysis from the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen, the Syrian military has escalated attacks on armed opposition groups in Idlib province, Syria's last major opposition stronghold.
The army artillery and air strikes targeted militant positions across Idlib, including the areas of Jabal al-Zawiya, Sarmin, Afes, Sufuhan, Kafr Aweid, al-Bara, al-Muzara, al-Fatira, Tarisha, Kansafra, Majdalia, and Kafr Benin. Attacks also hit sites on the outskirts of Al-Ghab Plain in Hama province.
The Syrian Ministry of Defense reported killing 111 fighters and wounding 80 members of terrorist groups in Idlib in response to a recent breach attempt by militants in Al-Malajah on August 26.
The escalation began after the militant group Ansar al-Tawhid tried to blow up a tunnel under a Syrian army position in Al-Malajah, leading to army casualties. Since then, clashes have steadily risen across the Idlib, Hama, and western Aleppo countryside.
The Syrian army sent reinforcements and immediately began shelling Ansar al-Tawhid sites and positions of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) and the Turkistan Islamic Party in Kansafra and Deir Sunbul.
Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani attempted a key trigger for the escalation to divert attention from deep internal divisions within his group. Al-Julani has pushed his fighters to clash with the Syrian army to rally supporters amid intra-group power struggles, arrests, and liquidations of dissenters.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and allied factions have also introduced new tactics, using drones and suicide infiltrations to attack army sites. They achieved some early successes before the army regained control.
Since the Al-Malajah tunnel bombing, the Syrian army has continuously struck militant positions across Idlib. A Syrian military source said the armed groups have retaliated with mortar, artillery, and missile attacks on army sites and attempted drone raids.