Despite the bad weather, warplanes target the countryside of Idlib by about 30 airstrikes, killing a woman and 3 children
Idlib Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the sky of Idlib Province has not witnessed the flight of warplanes and helicopters since the afternoon of Wednesday, the 18th of January 2018, due to the poor weather in the province today, but this bad weather did not prevent the warplanes from flying at dawn of today and in the afternoon, where they carried out at least 29 raids on areas in the southern, eastern and southeastern countryside of Idlib, where they carried out 9 raids on areas at the outskirts of Maarrat Al-Nu’man, Khan Shaykhun and Jarjanaz, and at least 5 raids on Abu al-Duhur area, while the rest of the raids targeted areas at the outskirts of the towns and villages of Kafr Nubl, Hass, al-Barsa, Khan al-Sobol, Mardebseh, Mardikh, Ma’arrat al-Na’asan, Ma’er Shmarin, Farwan, Qatrah, Magharat Mirza, al-Dilem, al-Samakah, Halban, Saraqib and outskirts of Talmanas, which caused several casualties and wounded, where the Observatory documented the death of 4 people as a result of the aerial bombardment, they are: a woman and 2 children were killed in the bombardment that targeted the western outskirts of Maarrat Al-Nu’man city, and a child was killed in aerial bombardment on Saraqib, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.
It worth mentioning that the Syrian Observatory published on Wednesday a detailed report about the military operations of the regime forces and their allies, led by the Brigadier Suhail al-Hasan in the countryside of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib, SOHR published that the regime forces backed by their allies of the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Iranian Guards, and the armed militiamen loyal to them of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, are continuing their military operations against Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and the factions operating with it in the southern countryside of Aleppo and the eastern countryside of Idlib, with the continuation of their operation which they started in the eastern section of Idlib countryside on the 25th of December 2017, as well as their operation which they escalated in the southern countryside of Aleppo on the 10th of January 2018.
The regime forces and their allies led by Suhail Al-Hassan use the same tactic which the Brigadier known as the “Tiger”, used in his operations against the “Islamic State” organization from the eastern countryside of Aleppo to Deir Ezzor passing by Palmyra and the eastern countryside of Homs, in terms of depending on tearing apart the controlled areas on his opponents of Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and the rebel and Islamic factions, through taking the control of the villages and the areas which Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham withdrew from, under the violent rocket, artillery and aerial strikes which target the areas of the regime and their allies’ advancement, which cost Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham a loss of more than 250 villages and town until now, including about 148 villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo, in conjunction with their operations in the north-east of Hama which was the least front within the three adjacent provinces, in terms of the advancement inside its territory.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored this advancement, as after the regime forces reached the walls of Abu Al-Duhur Military Airbase, -which was the last military base lost by the regime forces in Idlib in the first third of September 2015, after a violent attack by Al-Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in the Levant) and its supporting factions on the airbase and taking the control of it- and after the factions sent the regime forces away the airbase again and then regaining the control of about 20 villages, and turning Idlib clashes into hit-and-run clashes through which the factions returned to stop the regime’s advancement towards the airbase, the regime forces resumed their clashes which failed earlier in the southern countryside of Aleppo, and the regime forces achieved advancement in the areas of Khanasir and Tal al-Daman, and reached at a distance of hundred of meters from their forces located east of Abu Al-Duhur Military Airbase, thus, they become close to encircle Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and the organization in about 85 villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo, the eastern countryside of Hama and the eastern countryside of Idlib.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also monitored during the past 48 hours that the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities managed to achieve advancement coming from an area between Tal al-Daman and Al-Hadher, and the regime forces approached at a distance of 5 km from Abu Al-Duhur Military Airbase, in which this advancement imposes a siege on about 10 villages and areas within a second pocket connects through a corridor with the 85 villages in the first pocket, and if the regime forces manage to advance, then they will impose a siege over Abu Al-Duhur Military Airbase from 3 sides they are the south and the east sides of the airbase as well as the northern area where the regime forces exploit the presence of Al-Sayha swamp, which helps to impose a siege and secure the western flank in the advanced area of Kafr Haddad.
The regime forces used intensive firepower in their advancement, through escalating their ongoing bombardment by warplanes and helicopters affiliated to the regime and Russia and shelling by tanks, artillery and mortar shells, rocket launchers and missiles believed to be ground-to-ground, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented hundreds of the fighters and the members in the ranks of the both parties who were killed, injured and captured in the latest week of clashes, in which it has increased to 218 at least, the number of members of the regime forces and the factions, who have been killed since Wednesday evening, the 10th of January 2018, where it rose to 103, the number of members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen, including 6 officers and 3 of them are Brigadier Generals, and one of them is close to Suhail Al-Hassan, also it rose to at least 115 fighters of the factions, including 6 commanders, the number of fighters who were killed in the same clashes. The death toll is expected to increase due to the presence of injured persons in serious conditions, and the factions managed to capture 35 members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen, in addition to tens of members of Turkestan Islamic Movement, who were also killed in the latest battles.