The fourth day of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s offensive witnessed them stall, likely because they are fortifying their newly-captured positions in preparation for a serious battle. As predicted previously, Jabhat Tahrir al-Sham (specifically Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki) took advantage of HTS forces being off-balance. Striking hard west of Kafr Nabl, JTS forces captured three important towns along a key road, further isolating HTS garrisons in southern Idlib governorate.
Meanwhile south of Afrin, JTS is desperate to retain its supply line from Turkey because it wants weapons and equipment from Turkey as well as eventual support from “Olive Branch” forces fighting against YPG Kurdish militias in Afrin. This is why JTS used March 4th to retake the town of Salwa, thus reconnecting them with their Turkish friends. HTS also expanded the siege of Atarib by capturing the village of Taqad to its northeast. Also, there was heavy fighting in the western Aleppo suburbs, with TOW missiles hitting HTS militants. These intense clashes yielded no significant territorial changes.
By Peter Bucci (@Peter_Bucci)