BEIRUT, LEBANON – At midnight, the Russian Aerospace Forces unleashed a flurry of airstrikes over the Idlib countryside, hitting several jihadist targets near the Turkish border.
According to a military source in Damascus, the Russian Aerospace Forces specifically targeted the border-towns of Al-Ghassaniyah, Al-Aliyah, Al-Duribat, and Jisr Al-Shughour.
These four towns in western Idlib currently have a large presence of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) fighters, making them a top priority for the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Recently, the Russian Aerospace Forces have turned their attention to Jisr Al-Shughour, following failed talks with the Turkish military regarding the transfer of the town to the Syrian government.
Due to Jisr Al-Shughour’s proximity to Latakia and the Hmaymim Airbase, the Russian Aerospace Forces have begun pressuring Turkey to expel the jihadists in the area.
The Syrian Army has acquired a new regiment’s worth of troops after huge numbers of civilians from Syria’s northeastern regions entered service during recent days.
According to sources, some 1,500 people who originate from Hasaskah and Qamishli (well inside territory controlled by US-backed forces) and the countryside around both cities joined the Syrian Army after they settled their status (i.e. reconciled) with the Syrian government.
According to Al-Masdar News correspondent Ibrahim Joudeh, many of the men in their late twenties and thirties that have now joined ranks with the Syrian Army originally dodged the draft or fled duty during the early years of the crisis.
It is yet to be seen where exactly the new soldiers will be stationed after they complete their training and are commissioned into service with the Syrian Army. On this matter, many sources say that they will be based local to their areas (i.e. in government controlled aras of Qamishli and Hasakah).