The Syrian Army has just begun storming key locations on the outer areas of the militant stronghold of Khan Sheykhun in southern Idlib province. At the same time, government forces also made a surprise dash north of the city, taking a key hilltop in the process.
Details are still limited, however, field sources speaking to Muraselon News have confirmed reports that the Syrian Army has captured the northwestern farms of Khan Sheykhun and that, not long later, also seized the hilltop of Tal An-Nar.
It is still too early to get a proper assessment of jihadist defenses in and around Khan Sheykhun; if militants choose to fight for the settlement, then there is considerable urban space for them to do so, whether or not they have already prepared positions inside the city is another thing.
At the present time, it seems more-or-less the case that the insurgents have no fixed defensive positions on the immediate vicinity of Khan Sheykhun, but they may launch counter-attacks with small mobile forces to slow down the Syrian Army assault.
Regarding the northern advance, the capture of Tal An-Nar offers the Syrian Army a considerable field of view for fire control over a number of insurgent-controlled towns west of the Marat al-Numan to Khan Sheykhun highway - an important one being Kafr Sajna.
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