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Approaching Idlib

SCENIC VICTORY: “After claiming control over Jebel al-Arbaeen, the Syrian […]

2 October 2013

SCENIC VICTORY: “After claiming control over Jebel al-Arbaeen, the Syrian Arab Army destroyed the terrorist’s leadership centers there,” claims pro-regime satellite channel Sama in a field report from Idlib province. “The Syrian army is currently stationed on the highest summit of Jebel al-Arbaeen at the Fanar Restaurant. This summit controls all of the roads leading in and out of the city.”

Wresting control of Jebel Arbaeen,which until recently was held by rebels, would represent a major strategic and military achievement for the government.

The mountain village overlooks positions in southeastern Idlib, including the national highway between Latakia and Aleppo, the Turkish border and some suburbs of Aleppo. While both areas remain contested, the regime’s army holds much of the coastal city of Latakia, while rebels claim most of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

However, pro-rebel sources say the government can not quite yet claim its mission accomplished.

“The Fanar Restaurant is in the hands of the regime’s army, but actually, the highest point on Jebel al-Arbaeen is the Summit Restaurant, which remains in in the hands of the revolutionaries,” Saleh, a 25-year-old media activist in Idlib told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

Both the town of Idlib and nearby Jebel al-Arbaeen have witnessed intense local battles throughout the revolution, with civilians subjected to heavy air strikes and bombardment. Battles and clashes intensified throughout September, as Assad forces faced various armed opposition groups, including the Islamist group Jabhat A-Nusra, Al-Suqor Al-Sham Brigade, the Movement to Liberate the Islamic Levant, and the Syrian Martyrs’ Brigades.

These battalions opened a unified command headquarters in the region for what it named “The Battle Breaking the Chains of Steadfast Jericho,” referencing a regime-held village in the province.

According to the Sama broadcast, Assad’s forces have “completely destroyed the terrorists’ headquarters” and plan on “continuing its operations to open a way into the suburbs of Idlib.”

Video Courtesy: Sama satellite station.

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