SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 12, 2019: MILITANTS PUSH SYRIAN ARMY BACK IN SOUTHERN IDLIB | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 12, 2019: MILITANTS PUSH SYRIAN ARMY BACK IN SOUTHERN IDLIB

On December 11, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Army and the special forces unit, known as the “Red Bands”, attacked and captured the area of al-Katibat al-Mahjura in southeastern Idlib. Units of the Syrian Army deployed there were caught off-guard and withdrew after a few hours of clashes.

Al-Katibat al-Mahjura [the abandoned base in Arabic] is a former base of the Syrian Air Defense Forces. It overlooks the village of Umm al-Tinah controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. When the army captured the base last week, pro-government sources speculated that it may use it to advance further into southern Idlib. However, another week of inactivity allowed militants to regroup and take this facility back.

It’s interesting to note that militants’ advance took place amid another round of the Astana format talks, which are designed to find a political solution of the conflict. Nonetheless, as long as al-Qaeda-style groups operate in Idlib, this will not be possible.

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