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The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have captured the villages of Ramlah, Mazra’a and Aziza Abisan southwest of the town of Khanasir in southwestern Aleppo, according to pro-government sources.

This advance is a part of a wider effort aimed at recapturing the Abu al-Duhur Airbase and the nearby town from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda).

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has reportedly recaptured the village of Abu Ajwa in northeastern Hama from ISIS. The tensions between ISIS and HTS in the area are allowing the SAA and the NDF to expand their zone of control in the area without significant casualties.

Unknown aircraft bombed two HQs of the HTS-allied Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in the town of Kherbet Eljoz in northern Idlib. Unknown aircraft also destroyed two TIP vehicles on the road between Kherbet and Jisr al-Shughur.

It is not clear which side of the conflict conducted these airstrikes. However, some opposition sources speculated that they are related to activity of the Chinese Special Operations Forces in Syria. While a solid evidence confirming this barely exists, the claims are likely fueled by the recent media reports that China may deploy its special forces in Syria…

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