Idlib Rebel Civil War – 28/2/18

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham launched a rapid counteroffensive against Jabhat Tahrir Suriya along the Turkish border, regaining control of the towns of Atmah, Qah, Salwah, and Aqrabat. A Turkish military observation post is located in this area. This wise move by HTS blocks the ability of JTS to receive direct supplies from Turkey or Afrin, although both JTS and Turkey will likely try to reopen the corridor with direct military action in the coming days.

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HTS also countered in southern Idlib governorate by retaking the town of Kafr Sajnah and the village of Rakaya. This reestablishes its link to the Tamanah-Sukayk area. However, HTS also lost Morek to Jaish al-Izza and JTS, thereby rendering all of rebel-held northern Hama a Free Syrian Army safe haven.

The recent actions of HTS indicate that it is not quite as willing to give up territory as some had thought. It is putting up a strong fight to maintain its grip over the Turkish border as well as southern Idlib governorate. While HTS is most safe west of Idlib, it is still very reluctant to lose major parts of its territorial holdings without a fight.

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By Peter Bucci (@Peter_Bucci)

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