BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 P.M.) – The recent inter-rebel civil war in the Idlib Governorate has proven to be a major victory for the Syrian military and their allies as the jihadist takeover of the province allows for the government to resume plans for a northwestern Syria offensive.
Speaking to Al-Masdar News from the government stronghold of Mhardeh, an officer from the National Defense Forces (NDF) said the recent Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham expansion in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces has only increased the Russian pressure on their Turkish allies to remove these jihadist combatants.
“Russia is watching the conflict in Idlib very closely and pressuring Turkey to put an end to the terrorist presence,” the NDF officer told Al-Masdar News.
“There are already many Russians here (Mhardeh) and they keep sending more soldiers each day,” he continued.
It has been no coincidence that the Syrian Arab Army has been amassing forces across the Idlib-Hama axis since Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham captured Jabal Shashabo and the eastern region of the Al-Ghaab Plain from the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF); they will likely continue to build up their forces in a bid to force Turkey to either withdraw from their observation posts or expel the jihadist rebels.
With Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham eyeing the last three major cities (Saraqib, Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, Ariha) under NLF control in Idlib, the entire opposition-held part of the province could soon be under the authority of the jihadist rebels.