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Could the Fall of Khan Shaykhun begin the End of Jihadi Idlib?

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As I began typing this new NEO submission reports were coming in that SAA forces and its allies had cut the M5 road to Aleppo just north of Khan Shaykhun. Reports are now coming in that Syrian troops are not just blocking the road, but attacking southward down highway 5, sowing panic among the jihadis who had expected to retreat in good order if needed north up that road.

Last night Veterans Today sources told us that the jihadis were breaking up into small groups trying to break out through the still open countryside. They will only be fighting with what they can carry, which will not be much, and there will be no resupply while hiding out from the drones when the sun comes up Tuesday morning.

Update Tuesday morning: The sun rose to reports of general jihadi retreat from their positions south of Khan Shaykhun before their escape route is closed. The SAA main advance is still engaged inside the city, and I would suspect giving the jihadis time to evacuate while they still can, which has often been the case in the past, to save Syrian soldiers lives for later fighting.

Turkey sortied two F-16s in an attempt to disrupt the SAA advance but were chased off by two Russian S-35s that were quickly scrambled. They are now flying top cover for all Syrian air force sorties in the area. The days of Turkey playing fake ceasefire guarantor while aggressively supporting a jihadi terror rule over Idlib might be over. Mr. Putin backed up his statement yesterday that he fully supported the SAA advance with this move to protect Syrian air operations from Turkish interference.

This should have been done sooner as the whole peace and reconciliation process, plus preparing for elections, was wrecked as a result with more deaths and destruction which were always conveniently blamed on the Syrians defending their country. Turkey will owe Syria a huge reparations bill for its conduct.

I will admit that I did not see this huge turn of events coming together as it has. So let’s review what we know of the SAA strategy in hindsight.........

© New Eastern Outlook