Syrian Army begins storming strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has begun the important battle to capture the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib.

Led by the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army began storming Khan Sheikhoun from its western axis after securing much of the territory around the city.

The source added that the Russian Air Force is also active in the southern countryside of Idlib, as they help the Syrian military by bombing the militant reinforcements and bases around Khan Sheikhoun.

The Syrian Arab Army lost Khan Sheikhoun during the 2014 militant offensive in southern Idlib.

Khan Sheikhoun is a high priority for the Syrian military’s high command because of its location along the strategic Hama-Idlib Highway.

If the Syrian Arab Army is successful in this military endeavor, they will not only control a major city along the Hama-Idlib Highway, but they will also have cutoff the main militant supply line to the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate.

Furthermore, by capturing Khan Sheikhoun, the Syrian Army will also isolate the Turkish military’s observation post in the town of Morek.

However, a source from the Syrian Army told Al-Masdar that the Turkish military will still have access to the Hama-Idlib Highway because of their deal with the Russian Armed Forces.

MAP UPDATE: TIGER FORCES CONTINUE THEIR PUSH TO ENCIRCLE KHAN SHAYKHUN

18.08.2019

Map Update: Tiger Forces Continue Their Push To Encircle Khan Shaykhun

Click to see the full-size image

The Tiger Forces and their allies have liberated the farms of Nijm, Nisr and al-Safar, as well as the Nar Hill (Tal Nar) in southern Idlib. By this advance, government forces made another step in a long road to cut off the M5 highway and encircle the town of Khan Shaykhun and other militant positions to the south of it.

Syrian Army within 1 km of Khan Sheikhoun after new advance

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:35 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is within one kilometer of the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib, a military source told Al-Masdar News this evening.

According to the source, the Syrian Arab Army’s advance this evening has put them in position for a potential attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

At the same time, the Syrian Army has begun storming the nearby town of Rakaya and the hilltop of Tal Nar, which are both located northwest of Khan Sheikhoun.

If the Syrian Army does storm Khan Sheikhoun, it will be from the city’s western axis, as their advance to the eastern flank of the city has currently been forestalled by the jihadist rebels near Sukayk.

The jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Rouse the Believers launched a big counter-offensive on Saturday morning to retake Sukayk.

While they were unable to retake Sukayk, they did manage to retake some points north of the town.

Syrian War Report – August 16, 2019: Militant Groups Lose Lots Of Equipment In Southern Idlib

Units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces, backed up by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces, have liberated Umm Zaytunah and Kafr Tab, and advanced on Abedin and Madaya in southern Idlib.

Meanwhile, the SAA repelled an militants attack on its positions around Sukayk and Tell Sukayk. The attack was conducted by joint forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Wa Harid al-Muminin, known for their links with al-Qaeda, and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation.

So-called ‘democratic rebels’ used a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device driven by a suicide bomber to blow up SAA positions near Sukayk, but were not able to develop this tactical success and turn the situation in the area to own favor.

The SAA liberated Sukayk last week. Since then, militants have undertaken several attempts to recapture it. All of them failed.

Two battle tanks, two up-armored vehicles and three pick-up trucks belonging to militants were eliminated by the SAA in recent clashes west of Khan Shaykhun.

Units of the Russian Military Police and the Turkish military conducted on August 14 a joint patrol around the key city of Tell Rifaat in northern Aleppo, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria announced.

“On August 14, 2019, from 12:00 to 12:40, the Russian and Turkish military police units jointly patrolled the Tell Rifaat deconfliction zone,” Maj. Gen. Alexei Bakin said adding that the patrol’s route ran between the villages of Herbol and Shaykh Issa, east of Tell Rifaat.

Tell Rifaat is one of the biggest urban centers in northern Aleppo. It is jointly controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the SAA. Units of the Russian Military Police have been deployed near the city for more than two years now.

At the same time, the Turkish military and Turkish proxies see the town as one of the high priority targets in the even of escalation in the area.

Last year, Russia and Turkey reached an initial agreement that would allow civilians to return to their houses in Tell Rifaat and de-escalate the situation. The recent developments may indicate that the sides have reached some kind of understanding on the situation in the Tell Rifaat area.

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