There have been several significant developments of the battles over the towns of Kefraya and Fuaa in the countryside of Idleb late Monday. Factions affiliated to Jaish al-Fatah managed to take control of Al-Sawaghiyah area – the main defence line of Fuaa – and made advances in Deir Az-Zahgab, besieging regime forces and Shiite militias in the town.
Abu Al-Yazid Taftanaz, the military spokesman of Ahrar a-Sham Movement (ASM) – a faction of Jaish al-Fatah – said: “the regime forces suddenly collapsed and the opposition fighters were able to advance upon Al-Sawaghiyah village and four other locations on the outskirts of Fuaa.”
Taftanaz added: “12 fighters of the regime forces were killed in an ambush by the opposition fighters during these battles.” “We will continue our advance towards the towns of Kefraya and Fuaa until the regime forces cease their bombing of Zabadani and Ghouta,” he said.
Collapse of the Negotiations
Regarding the collapse of the recent negotiations between ASM and the Iranian negotiators, Colonel Malik al-Kurdi said in a statement to Al-Souriah Net that the regime is very sensitive towards Iranian activities in Syria, particularly the recent negotiations on Zabadani. The regime, however, needs ideological allies to defend itself and prevent its fall despite the high price tag.
Kurdi believes that the rebels of Zabadani are capable of withstanding the attacks and making difficult decisions though they are the weaker side, unlike the opposition forces in the northern province of Idleb enjoying full control on the ground. He believes that this capability comes from the fact that the rebels are well-supplied and conduct special operations against regime forces to snatch enough ammuition to withstand the attacks.
The regime’s position has weakened following a long and crippling siege in Kefraya and Fuaa, especially after the liberation of the city of Idleb. The rebels are perhaps waiting for the regime forces to offer more concessions.
On Saturday morning, clashes broke out again in Zabadani after the second collapse of negotiations this month between ASM and the Iranian negotiators, while opposition forces resumed the shelling of the Shiite towns of Kefraya and Fuaa near Idleb. The Iranians’ intrasigence regarding certain stipulations of the negotiations led to the breakdown of the cease-fire agreement.
The negotiating parties disagreed over the release of detainees in the regime’s prisons as the opposition demanded the regime to release several of them, which the regime refused to do. Bashar al-Basha, an activist from Binnish, cited ASM sources that Iran was amenable to the proposal but the Syrian regime rejected it.