By: Yuri Veselov, military observer, Inforos news agency
Regional Arab news agencies with a focus on Arab monarchical regimes are trying to present the defeat of terrorists in the city of Khan Shaykhun and in the north of the Hama province as “an organized forced withdrawal of troops from the combat zone.” Concurrently, they make no secret of the fact that the loss of control over the area opens up a real opportunity to government forces to develop a powerful offensive deep into the provinces of Idlib and Hama.
It must be admitted that the advancing troops lost up to a thousand soldiers killed in this military operation, which had lasted since the beginning of May this year. At the same time, according to preliminary estimates alone, the irreparable losses of illegal military formations range from 4 to 5 thousand militants over the same period of hostilities. In the course of heavy and exhausting clashes for Khan Shaykhun almost half of the heavy weapons and armored vehicles at the illegal armed groups’ disposal were destroyed.
Detailed military-political results of the completed mission will apparently be summed up and made public later. Their outcome cannot be overemphasized.
The chieftains themselves frankly admit to have never experienced such a determined action of the Syrian army and its allies before. Khan Shaykhun and northern Hama appeared as a heavily fortified defensive area created in 2014. It was here that massive weapons and ammunition arsenals were concentrated, as well as warehouses with material and other defense means of the entire “Idlib de-escalation zone”.
With the elimination of this large hotbed, the Syrian anti-government forces have lost the main base for military stores replacement. All the attempts by “specialists” living in the Arabian Peninsula or in London to justify the flight of militants “to organized positions” are meaningless. The prospect for an end to the armed enclave in the north-west of the country is becoming increasingly apparent.
Immediately after taking control over the area, the Syrian command opened two humanitarian corridors to evacuate the remaining civilians from the south of Idlib and the north of Hama. This means that the coming days are going to witness the offensive to continue in these areas.