Syria Daily: Rebels Counter-Attack in Idlib Province

Rebel fighter celebrates counter-attack against pro-Assad offensive in SE Idlib Province, 11 January 2018

Rebels counter-attacked in Idlib Province in northwest Syria on Thursday, regaining 16 villages before pro-Assad forces claimed that they reversed some of the gains.

The Assad regime and its foreign allies have re-entered Idlib, almost all of which has been held by the opposition since spring 2015. Supported by Russian airstrikes, they were proclaimed earlier this week that they were poised to take the Abu Duhur airbase, with the frontline only 2 km away.

But yesterday, in a sudden assault, rebels cut into the western side of the regime salient. Significantly, the advance was by rebel factions — Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish Nasr, Jaish Izza, the Free Idlib Army, Faylaq al-Sham, Noureddin al-Zinki, and the Turkestan Islamic Party — rather than the hardline jihadist bloc Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which had withdrawn from positions in recent days.

Equally significant, those rebel forces have been seen with new Turkish-supplied arms and armored vehicles, indicating a possible pushback by Ankara against not only the Assad regime but also its Russian and Iranian allies. Local sources also report Turkish provision of ammunition, RPGs, mortars, Grad rockets and launchers, and tank shells.

Pro-opposition outlets claimed that at least 60 pro-Assad troops were captured in the initial wave of the attack, and that tanks and other armored vehicles were taken. Among the casualties was Brig. Gen. Ezzedine Yaghi of the 5th Army Division.

Rebels also said Col. Wissam al-Jahjah, a senior commander in the paramilitary Tiger Forces, was killed in battle in northern Hama Province.

“The operation is to hit the belly of the regime deep into liberated territories and to encircle their advancing forces,” said Abdul Hakim al-Rahamon, a senior official in Jaish al-Nasr.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham claimed at the same time that it had struck pro-Assad lines on the east of the salient. It was unclear if HTS’s assault was coordinated with the Turkish-supported rebels.

Ankara is hostile to the jihadist bloc. Some analysts have evaluated that Turkey may have welcomed a pro-Assad offensive that would weaken HTS, but then planned for the rebel counter-attack to regain territory.

HTS had become the dominant military faction in Idlib Province last year by pushing back rebel groups, notably Ahrar al-Sham. It has tried to take over local councils through a Syrian Salvation Government, challenging the opposition’s Syrian Interim Government.

Russia responded with intense bombing of frontlines as pro-Assad forces tried to retrieve villages and move back towards the Abu Duhur base later in the day. Warplanes also struck civilian areas such as the towns of Khan Sheikhoun and Saraqeb.

An Assad regime military official denied that there was any counter-attack, although he acknowledged there were heavy fighting, and said the pro-Assad advance was continuing.

Battle footage:

Rebels in Turkish-supplied mine-resistant vehicles:

Capture of regime troops:

Turkey PM Condemns Pro-Assad Attacks

Without referring to Turkish support of the rebel counter-offensive, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım condemned the Assad regime’s attacks on Idlib Province.

Yıldırım’s remarks after Friday prayers pointed to Turkish concerns over the likelihood of more refugees joining the more than 3 million that are alreaedy in the country, as he said escalating attacks will cause a new migration wave.

The Prime Minister called on Russia and Iran — who joined Turkey in the nominal declaration of a de-escalation zone, only for Russian warplanes to support the pro-Assad offensive — to warn the Assad regime:

Turkey along with Russia and Iran successfully took an initiative to ensure lasting peace in Syria. We are discussing the matter with the countries we work with and are trying to prevent dire consequences that could arise from it.

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  1. Erdogan will find a way to backstab the Syrians. If Russia can bomb the rebels, whey can’t the Turkish airforce bomb SAA? Because Erdogan is probably trying to get a concession from Russia in oil, gas, or trade. He does not need to save Idlib to get votes for his six year presidency. Just needs to attack the Kurds.

    • First of all why is it only erdogan’s duty to save idlib? Where is the champion of humanity the US? Oops I remember they were at the same line with regime claiming idlib as qaedaland. Erdogan is doing his best to protect muslims of idlib at the cost of facing two superpowers of the world.

      It is funny while erdogan is accused by regime supporters and lavrov for helping rebels clueless kazemi claims he does not help.

      • SAA has run over eastern Idlib and where is Erdogan? How is it that Erdogan does not help the Muslims of Idlib against SAA and Russian bombing? Because he doesn’t care. He will do any deal necessary with the Russians so he can keep his caliphate in the next election. Erdogan could at least give anti-air missiles to Ahrar or anti-tank missiles to Heyat. But no, he wants to attack the free and democratic Kurds and Arabs of Afrin, because he is an anti-Kurd racist and he hates democracy and wants Islamic fascism.

        The Americans are not in the civil war anymore. They are just with SDF and the Americans have liberated 40% of Syria, and they have a democratic government in northern Syria. And the Americans are not helping SAA. Any evidence for that?

        Erdogan tried to do the “de escalation zone” but as stupid as he is, he fell for the Russian lies and promises. Shame on all Islamists who destroyed the Syrian revolution. They hijacked the revolution to create Nusra, Ahrar, and ISIS, and then handed it over to Assad.

        • ” Erdogan could at least give anti-air missiles to Ahrar or anti-tank missiles to Heyat.”

          lol, your words are like shouting “I don’t know anything about syria”

          Heyat is considered as Al qaeda due to qaeda veterans in their ranks. The moment Erdogan gives anything to heyat he would be declared a terror supporter by the US and face the consequences.

          You should thank me for the free education I’m providing you 🙂

          • Erdogan and Qatar have supplied Nusra in the past. They can do that anytime. But Erdogan is only worried about his own Caliphate and how to do genocide on the Kurds. He has no interest in saving Idlib. Islam is the most despicable ideology ever invented – and by lizard eating Badoos. Only tears and hypocrisy can be expected from Islamist Erdogan. We are now witnessing the bankruptcy of this “shithole” ideology.

    • “Tazi Retweeted
      ‏ @worldonalert
      4h4 hours ago

      #Idlib: Total collapse of the #Assad regime in Southern #Idlib tonight. #Assad forces are running for their lives.
      11 replies . 40 retweets 87 likes”
      Wow! If a feeble counter-attack can do this, imagine what would happen if the rebels got serious.

        • IMHO that desert area is of lesser importance to rebels. They will evacuate there eventually. Let isis and regime deal with each other there. Hit and run attacks from west of the railway is good strategy I think.

          • Has Erdogan given the rebels any anti-tank missiles? Anti-air missiles? Howitzers? Armor besides some feeble personnel carriers? 90% of Erdogan’s assistance is to attack the Kurds who are peaceful and are resisting Bashar Assad. Who do you think Erdogan is working for? It seem he works for Putin Assad and Khamenei, as he betrays the Syrian rebels and attacks the Kurds who resist SAA.

  2. #Hama: ” Rebels shot down another drone (3rd one in a week), this time by Jaish Nasr & near #KafrNabuda” – QalaatAlMudiq
    Give the Russian military in Syria a taste of it’s own medicine, if ‘drone swarm’ attacks worked against the Russia’s Hmeimm base then it’ll work on Hama airbase.

  3. 1) ” Rebels declare control over #Khuwayn & seizure of one tank. 3rd time village changes hands past days” – QalaatAlMudiq
    Whenever rebels are forced to abandon a town/village, then don’t leave without laying mines and booby-traps for the incoming regime units that way you buy time to attack that position again.
    2) “counter-offensive started by Rebels days ago follows scenario dictated by Regime-#Russia’s overwhelming firepower: hit & run battles to inflict casualties & capture spoils, then retreating, attacking again & so on. Maps useless.” – QalaatAlMudiq
    This is why multiple (3 or 4) small decoy offensives (a lesson which rebels have forgot), behind-the-lines raids & ambushes, laying mines & sleeper-cells in captured regime areas along with use of ‘drone swarms’ in a large offensive are so important as it causes massive attrition rate by the surprises they inflict on regime troops.

  4. “Turkistan Islamic Party seize several #ATGM from the #Assad regime including a Konkurs #Musharifah village S #Idlib” – badly_xeroxed
    This is important. Launching surprise raids on regime positions just to get ATGM booty are worth it if those captured ATGM either get fairly re-distributed or put under one single ATGM group that wholesales TOWies & other equipment for ALL rebel groups.

  5. “First of all why is it only erdogan’s duty to save idlib? Where is the champion of humanity the US? Oops I remember they were at the same line with regime claiming idlib as qaedaland. Erdogan is doing his best to protect muslims of idlib at the cost of facing two superpowers of the world.”

    So, same people that proclaim they want to kill all Americans are crying cause the US isn’t helping them? Typical retarded islamist mentality. Why is it the Americans duty to save idlib? Which 2 super powers is Erdy protecting idlib from? The only people that are attacking idlib are the Russians, Iranians, syrians, shite militias, and Hezbollah. Looks like a lot of muslims to me!

    Turkey has sold out the rebellion. This whole thing, going on in Idlib, was a play to grind down more of the rebellion. Soon, Assads forces will reclaim Idlib and the rebellion will be one step closer to done.

    • Where did you get barrel bombed civilians proclaim they want to kill all americans?

      Of course it is US duty to stop regime and russia from killing civilians as it is the only country which can do that. What did US do instead? Cut a deal with russia, took east of euphrates and let russia free at the west of euphrates. US even banned southern front from fighting against the regime. This is the real sellout.

      • Matt is absolutely right. Nusra, Al Qaeda and their allies all want to kill American civilians. Now they are crying for help? How disgusting and arrogant is that? Have you forgotten 9/11 so soon? Why should US save a bunch of unwiped Islamists and Islamofascists? Did they not steal the weapons provided by the US to FSA and then killed FSA or forced them to cooperate? Islamists are double-faced to the extreme. “Typical retarded Islamist mentality” — exactly. They will cooperate with Marxists and regressives, and they subvert the revolution, and then they have the arrogance to say “why is the US not helping”?

      • You are mistaken. The US cannot enter the Syrian war because of the leftist activists who have stopped US assistance to bring regime change and democracy. After Libya was liberated with the help of the west, which has strongly resisted by the leftists, the Islamists destroyed the place and acted like animals from the wilderness. The leftists and regressives are laughing at the US for doing regime change in Libya. What is the point of regime change for backward civilization-hating Arabs? You can give them a beautiful country and in a matter of weeks it will be destroyed to the level of their desert-religion prophet warlord and charlatan has ordered. After 7 years the Libyans cannot still put a government together. Why should anyone help the Syrians when they will be many times worse than the Libyans? Islamists are fake. They hate civilization.

        • Apart from your casual bigotry against Arabs, to which we have become accustomed, what most sticks in the craw here is your wilful ignorance and/or falsification of recent history:

          1. Yankistan entered the Syrian war by plotting and launching its warcriminal régime-change project based on whatever flimsy pretext was available in 2011.

          2. Yanki “assistance” is never to bring “democracy” but rather the targeted country under its control. This is realpolitik, not an infantile fantasy role-playing game.

          3. So-called “leftist activists” have neither stopped nor strongly resisted Yanki régime-change operations in Libya or Syria, rather they have enthusiastically cheered and supported the depredations of their “own” capitalist Evil Empire, because they are frauds and sell-outs who ultimately dream of currying for themselves some cosy sinecure such as Gender-Equality or Newspeak-Enforcement officer in the administrator of these newly reconquered colonies. A perfect example of this grovelling caste of NATO-catspaw pseudo-left is the Yanki ISO, as exquisitely exposed here:

        • “Why should US save a bunch of unwiped Islamists and Islamofascists?”

          LOL, why then erdogan is obliged to save them? You are contradicting yourself.

          The thing is, hardliners gained power due to US inactivity to stop regime massacres on civilians in the first place. US could prevent this and could empower moderates easily by declaring a NFZ and neutralising Russia. US chose not to do that. And that was not because some bunch of marginal leftists like you claim. Nobody cares what those guys think. That was because US’ interests required so. Like Russia US did not hesitate to destroy whole cities (mosul, raqqa) when its interests required. Where was the marginal left’s power to stop that?

          • Ahem, because, obviously, Erdogan is an Islamist. Surprise?

            US interest in destroying Raqqa and Mosul? The free world has a legitimate interest in destroying ISIS. Nobody wants to destroy Mosul. You are deluded even beyond what I had imagined. Yeah, ISIS must have been a US conspiracy. Which truther site are you reading everyday?

          • Out of arguments? No, everything you are whining you want is east of the euphrates. A part of syria where the united states is protecting you from the regime. Where people are not getting barrel bombed, as you say.

            There’s just not much else to say. Your arguments are pretty much always the same If something bad, blame the US for doing or not doing something. If something good, say it is despite the US doing or not doing something. The islamist mentality is that of a 7 year old boy. US could do this, US could do that. Oh save us US. Then you’ll go on about how evil the US is. Or the US did it because of some nefarious reason. Its just old. Tell us again how the US is controlling everything in the world? Cause its hard to tell the difference between the US and allah.

            US didnt ban southern front from fighting regime, just made it clear we wouln’t help them in that fight. And of course all they did was whine that the US wasn’t helping them. Always poor me mentality.

            • Well said Matt. These backward Muslim US and west haters are perennially begging for us to save their behinds, but of course that does not stop them from deep bigotry against the west. May they all go back to their shitholes and rot. The guy is accusing the US of having an interest in destroying the city of Mosul. How stupid can a person get? But of course he is not alone — 90% of Muslims think just like him. They beg for a NFZ and then when that is provided and they defeat Qaddafi, they build a shithole and then complain that US is just there for its interests. He will now claim that US had an interest in the destruction of Misrata. These Muslims deserve Assad frankly. Meokur is as regressive and Islamist as they get and he is one of their brighter ones. Frankly at this point I have stopped worrying about people like Meokur getting bombed in Idlib. If his cup of tea is Ahrar, then may Assad bomb Ahrar to bits, and hopefully he will be among them. Islamists and Islamics are the bane of civilization – as bad as Marxists.

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