On Monday, regime militias launched the battle “Idleb Dawn” with a surprise land attack on the al-Janabra and al-Hamamiyet fronts in the northern Hama countryside. The militias are trying to take control over the city of Kafr Naboudeh, which will put them in firing range of a large number of villages in the nearby area, according to Al-Modon’s corespondent Khalid al-Khatib.
Before the start of the attack the front witnessed preparatory fire of various types, land and air, with Russian aircraft preparing for the advance by bombing villages and positions with more than 30 airstrikes. Helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the villages of al-Sakhr and Tel Osman.
Regiments of al-Shawahin, al-Hawahim, al-Howarith, and al-Tarmah as well as Wa’ad Makhlouf groups from the Tiger Forces joined in the battle.
T-72 tanks attacked while the Fifth Corps provided artillery and rocket cover and preoccupying operations in Sahel al-Ghab and on the al-Saramaniyeh front to the north, which are fronts that witnessed sporadic clashes over the last few hours.
The militias succeeded in getting past the first armed opposition defenses in the al-Janbarah front and advanced toward the outskirts of the villages of al-Bana, Harmas and al-Janbarah and on the Tel Osman front. In these villages there was heavy fighting between militias and the opposition, while the militias failed to break the first line of the opposition on the al-Hamamiyet front, which saw heavy fighting between the two sides. Members of the Tiger Forces on social media spread news of the battle, which the militia’s commander Suhail Hassan called “Idleb Dawn.”
The groups participating in repelling the regime militias included Jaish al-Azza, the National Front for Liberation and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, as well as Ansar Islam. The opposition says that it killed a large number of militia fighters during the battles, including a commander from a Tiger Forces group known by the nickname “Tiger Cub.”
The opposition says that it has not yet lost any positions to the militias and that the battle is still ongoing, as the opposition strikes militia bases in Bardeij and Jubb Ramleh and the outskirts of al-Suqaylabiyah and Muhradah with dozens of grad rockets.
Meanwhile the regime militias say that they have been able to take control of four villages with positions in Karnaz and its environs separating from Kafr Naboudeh, most importantly Tel Osman, which secures firing range to the east toward Kafr Naboudeh and to the west toward Qalaat Madiq. The two towns are under heavy artillery and rocket fire.
A spokesman for the National Front, Colonel Naji Mustafa, told Al-Modon that the opposition had destroyed two attacking militia tanks and a number of military vehicles on the front where they are advancing, and killed more than 20 fighters, including an officer and field commanders. According to Mustafa, heavy reinforcements for the opposition arrived to the fronts in the Hama countryside in the last few hours to repel the attack.
Russian warplanes have broadened the scope of their bombardment and have struck Jabel al-Zawiyeh in the southern Idleb countryside, with the raids reaching up to the southern Aleppo countryside. The bombardment struck a number of towns, including al-Zerba, in which civilians were killed. The Russian warplanes have monitored opposition supply routes and have struck cars and military vehicles on the roads near the al-Maala area.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.