On December 3, pro-government forces liberated the villages of Rasm al-Ward, Istablat and Ajaz from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radical groups in southeastern Idlib.
With this advance, the Syrian Army and its allies retook all the villages that captured by militants in the framework of their advance launched on November 30.
Pro-militant sources claim that multiple Russian and Syrian airstrikes hit positions of “opposition forces” near Maarat al-Numan. This town remains the main militant stronghold in the area and is an apparent target of any possible Syrian Army operation in the region.
On December 1, the Syrian Air Defense Forces intercepted several unmanned aerial vehicles launched by militants over the Hama Airbase. According to pro-government activists, the mysterious UAVs approached the air base in what appears to be an attempt to bomb it.
Earlier in 2019, the Hama Air Base became a target of several UAV attacks. All the drones were launched from Greater Idlib. The new attack appears to be identical to the previous ones.
The Hama Air Base is one of three key air fields in central Syria. The airbase is hosting several squadrons of the Syrian Arab Air Force. Some Russian units are also deployed there.
Turkish-backed militants arrested a number of young local men and looted properties in multiple houses in the village of al-Qatouf village near Ras al-Ayn, Syria’s state media reported on December 3. The same report says that several militants died as a result of fighting erupted over the stolen properties.
Over the past years, several cases were repeatedly reported in the Turkish-controlled areas of Afrin and al-Bab. Turkish sources ignore these reports or call them fake news.
Sporadic clashes between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkish proxies erupt on a regular basis north of Ayn Issa and southeast of Ras al-Ayn. Nonetheless, no major offensive actions have been undertaken by the sides.
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*All posts on behalf of South Front are made by Gordon Duff