Militant forces in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib are buckling under the pressure of a relentless Syrian Army offensive which in less than 24 hours has resulted in the capture of seven settlements, including an important road hub town, and two hilltops.
Following the capture of the town of Umm Jalal, located to the southeast of Murrat al-Numan city (under jihadist control) during the night of Thursday to Friday, the Syrian Army opened up an entirely new axis of attack near Abu Duhur.
The attack - led by veteran Republican Guard units - smashed through the relatively indefensible open countryside of southeastern Idlib, completely routing Islamist forces after a relatively short battle.
Paving the way with artillery strikes and aerial bombardment, and supported by armour, the Syrian Army and supporting pro-government groups seized the town of Ash-Sha'ara, the villages of Rubiya, Barnan and Al-Kurayba as well as the hilltop of Tal Mahou around midday on Friday.
Following up in the wake the Republican Guard's advance were also units of the Syrian Army's proven 5th Corps and Syrian-Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade (Liwa al-Quds).
Furthermore, back on the Umm Jalal front, the Syrian Army has maintained its offensive momentum with field sources confirming to Muraselon News in the last 30 minutes that the town of Farja as well as the hilltop and corresponding village of Tal ash-Sheykh were captured.
Moving in the direction of the strategic M5 Highway, the Syrian Army currently enjoys military superiority in a number of realms, including two air forces in support of its operation, overwhelming artillery firepower and a wealth of armoured units.
Despite encountering prepared Islamist defenses, the Syrian Army also finds itself with one additional advantage, a geographical one - that being that it is an attacking force in a low and open terrain region of Syria that only favours an offensive posture, not a defensive one.
HD map available here.