By the evening of December 25, government forces have repelled a counter-attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its Turkish-backed allies on the town of Jarjnaz in southern Idlib and have resumed their advance on the town of Maarat al-Numan.
The militant counter-attack started on December 24 evening with at least two suicide bombing attacks on positions of the Syrian Army. Despite this, the terrorists were not able to break the army defense line. Pro-militant sources claim that they destroyed at least 5 units of military equipment belonging to the army and killed over 12 soldiers. Despite this, Idlib militants appear to be unable to stop the army advance in an open battle.
On December 25, the Russian Aerospace Forces bombed a military convoy of Ahrar al-Sham moving near the town of Kafr Nubl in southern Idlib, according to reports by Arab media. The terrorist group’s General Commander Abu Jaber al-Sheikh was reportedly injured in the strike. Several other influential Ahrar al-Sham commanders and members were killed.
Ahrar al-Sham is the radical Turkish-backed militant group. It is the core of the pro-Turkish militant alliance known as the National Front for Liberation.
Leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Abu Muhammed al-Jolani released an official video statement on the recent developments in southern Idlib. The terrorist blamed Iran and Russia for the recent setbacks of the “revolution” in Greater Idlib and threatened the region with consequences.
He also claimed that his forces achieved many of their goals against the “regime” (mostly destroying Syrian economy and killing civilians) and is about to achieve the victory. However, Russia and Iran stand on their way.
The Russian motivation, according to al-Jolani, is to restore “the glory of the USSR”. It is interesting to note that this remark reflects the mainstream propaganda that often paints the current situation around the world as the Second Cold War and Russia as the USSR 2.0.