The Syrian Army and its allies are preparing to resume ground operations against radical militants in Greater Idlib, according to pro-government sources.
Over the past few days, helicopters of the Syrian Air Force have carried out multiple airstrikes on positons of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups in northern Lattakia and northwestern Hama. Especially intense airstrikes were reported near Kabani and across the al-Ghab Plains.
Meanwhile, Idlib militant groups are working to prevent evacuation of civilians from the area. They see the local population near the frontline as a useful tool of defending their military positions, often located near civilian infrastructure objects. Since the start of September, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has repeatedly shelled the Abu al-Duhur humanitarian corridor opened by the Syrian Army.
Aleppo governor Hussain Diab even told reporters that radicals had executed at least 5 people that were trying to cross to the government-controlled territory.
Russian air defense and electronic warfare systems shot down and intercepted over 100 hostile unmanned aerial vehicles near Hmeimim airbase in the past two years, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced on September 27. Militant groups operating in Greater Idlib launched most of these drones.
On September 26, unidentified aircraft carried out a new series of airstrikes on positions of Iranian-backed forces near the eastern Syrian city of al-Bukamal, on the border with Iraq. This was the third airstrike on the area in September. These attacks are often attributed to Israel. Nonetheless, these actions did not help Tel Aviv to put an end to Iranian military presence in the border area.
Additionally, the Iraqi government announced that the al-Bukamal crossing located on the Deir Ezzor-Baghdad highway will be soon reopened.
On Septmeber 27, ISIS cells ambushed a Syrian Army vehicle with an IED near the town of al-Sukhna in the province of Homs. At least two soldiers were killed in the attack. Earlier, a similar attack targeted a pick-up truck of pro-government militia Liwa al-Quds near Palmyra. After reopening of the al-Bukamal crossing, Damascus and Iranian-backed forces will likely focus on eliminating the remaining ISIS cells in the desert.
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*All posts on behalf of South Front are made by Gordon Duff