Syrian Military Retakes Important Town of Rabiah Near Turkish Border
nsnbc : The Syrian Arab Army has gained full control over the town of Rabiah in the coastal province of Latakia. The town was the second most important stronghold for foreign-backed Jabhat Al-Nusrah and FSA insurgents in the country. The successful recapture of Rabiah comes only one week after Syrian military forces wrested the town of Salma the second-most important Al-Nusrah / FSA bastion near the Turkish border from the foreign-backed insurgents.
The recapture of Rabiah and Salma are of great strategic importance and help the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Syrian National Self Defense units to reassert sovereignty over key positions in Latakia province, near the Turkish border. Rabiah is located some 13 kilometers from the Turkish border.
Both Rabiah and Salmah are, however, still surrounded by local strongholds and entrenchments of several insurgencies. Most prominently among them are the Al-Qaeda linked Jabhat Al-Nusrah and the remnants of the so-called Free Syrian Army. The FSA has been rendered more or less defunct after many, if not most of its fighters joined the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL or Daesh), Jabhat Al-Nusrah and other insurgencies.
Rabiah was of great logistic importance for the insurgents as most of the supplies of weapons, munitions and other “necessities” for the insurgents in and around Salma had to be routed through Rabiah. Turkey continues leaving its border permeable for these insurgencies. The loss of Rabiah to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been confirmed by spokespersons for the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The SAA continues to make slow but steady progress in the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo; Supported by National Self Defense Unites, Lebanese Hezbollah units and Russian Air Forces. After Syrian Kurdish YPG/PYG forces began gaining increased control along the Turkish – Syrian border region, Turkey stepped up its support of Turkmen insurgents in the region of Salma and Rabia. It were Turkish-backed Turkmen fighters who murdered the two Russian pilots who ejected from a Su-24 front-line bomber after the jet was shot down by Turkish F-16s.
SAA units reportedly plan to continue their advance to capture the town of Kinsabah, after which they will reach the western countryside of the northwestern province of Idlib, another bastion of the al-Fateh Army rebels, or the Conquer Army, which consists of several jihadi groups such as al-Qaida-linked Nusrah Front.
A Syrian military source told the press that the Syrian army is working on clearing Latakia of the insurgency to later start purging the countryside of Idlib, as a move to completely close the borders with Turkey, through which much of the foreign jihadists were streaming into Syria. The source added that with the capture of Rabiah, the rebels’ defenses in the northern countryside of Latakia could be considered collapsed.
CH/L – nsnbc 24.01.2016