BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a massive advance in the Idlib Governorate on Monday, seizing over ten towns and villages from the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkish-backed National Liberation Forces (NLF).

READ ALSO: Syrian Army scores massive advance in Idlib after jihadist defenses collapse – map

Led by the 25th Special Mission Forces Division (formerly Tiger Forces), the Syrian Arab Army managed to capture several towns and villages throughout the day on Monday, putting their forces at the southern and northern axes of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man in the eastern part of Idlib.

As a result of this advance, the Syrian Arab Army troops now find themselves within 13km of both Ariha and Saraqib, two important cities in the Idlib Governorate that are located along the Latakia-Aleppo Highway (M-4).

The Syrian Army lost Saraqib to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in 2012 and Ariha to Jabhat Al-Fateh in 2015.

If these two cities are lost, the Syrian Arab Army will be within striking distance of Idlib for the first time since they lost the city to Jabhat Al-Fateh during the latter’s Spring offensive in 2015.

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