MAD MEN: The Islamic Front blew up the Syrian army’s a-Sahaba checkpoint in the town of Wadi a-Deif near the M5 international highway in Idlib province on Monday amidst cries of “Allahu Akbar” as the ground flies dozens of feet in the air from the force of the explosion.
“The checkpoint overlooks wide, open expanses of territory, including the Aleppo-Damascus highway,” said Abu Ali a-Ruji, a reporter for Sham News Network in Idlib province, referring to the M5 highway, Syria’s main north-south artery.
Pro-opposition Shahba Press reported rebels had spent 45 days digging the tunnel and detonated 40 tons of explosives.
Mimicking a tactic rebels have employed in Aleppo province, rebels destroyed the checkpoint’s three buildings by detonating explosives planted in a tunnel burrowed dozens of meters long in order to reach the checkpoint.
A-Ruji said 40 regime soldiers were killed in the attack, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 30 had been killed.
The checkpoint forms part of the Wadi a-Deif military base just one kilometer east of the M5 highway connecting Damascus with central and northern Syria.
"Soldiers would target anything that moved on the highway from this checkpoint," a-Ruji said, adding that rebels from Liwa Dara'a a-Tawhid, Liwa Suqour al-Ma'ara, Liwa Fajr al-Islam and Liwa al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar had coordinated in the operatons.
Official government news agency SANA made no mention of the attack, but reported Syrian forces had “ambushed terrorists belonging to a group called the Kourin Martyrs’ Brigade” in the Idlib province town of Sahel a-Ruj, 40 kilometers northwest of Wadi a-Deif.
The Wadi a-Deif encampment is considered one of the most fortified in the area, and contains large stores of weapons and equipment used by regime forces.
Rebels and government forces have engaged in a back-and-forth battle for control of the M5 international highway in the northern Hama and southern Idlib towns of Mourek, Khan Sheikhoun, Maarat a-Numan and Wadi a-Deif. Today, the government retains full control of the highway, the principal government supply route to its forces in Aleppo province.
Video courtesy of Suqour a-Sham.
-May 6, 2014