The Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) – launched a counter-attack at the Al-Finar Checkpoint near the strategic city of Ariha, capturing this area 24 hours after the militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” seized this checkpoint.
Following their recapture of the Al-Finar Checkpoint, the SAA’s 87th Brigade and the NDF advanced to Qasr Al-Sa’oudi, where they engaged the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham in a fierce firefight before they were able to take full control of this castle located in the western part of the Idlib Governorate.
Despite their success at the Ariha front, the SAA’s 87th Brigade and the NDF were unable to maintain full control of Kufayr after capturing this village 24 hours before their withdrawal on Thursday; this retreat was due to the militants of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham controlling the surrounding hills around Kufayr.
According to a military source in the Idlib province, the SAA’s 87th Brigade and the NDF have regrouped south the village, where they are preparing for counter-assault on the militants from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.
Rumors have circulated that the Tiger Forces commander – Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan – is currently stranded in the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital; however, Al-Masdar News was informed that this is false – the Tiger Forces commander is reportedly in the city of Ariha, overlooking the Syrian Armed Forces in Idlib.
Meanwhile, at the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital, the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra launched an attack on the SAA’s frontline defenses at the eastern flank of the facility, where they attempted a suicide bombing in front of the building; however, the vehicle was destroyed before it could reach its destination – the attack was later repelled after the Islamist militants suffered heavy casualties.