On January 11, “moderate opposition” groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) released an official statement announcing a large counter-offensive against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies in the Abu al-Duhur area in southern Idlib where the “regime forces” were battling their allied terrorist group – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda).
According to available information, Faylaq al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Jaish al-Nasr, Jaish al-Nukhba, Ahrar al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party, the FSA’s 2nd Army declared their readiness to assist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and some of them already joined the battle.
Clashes between militants and government troops were reported in Tell Salmo, Atshan, Jaish al-Ahrar, Khuwayn al-Kabir, Zarzour, Umm al-Khalakhi and near the Abu al-Duhur Airbase. Pro-opposition sources also claimed that militants had already killed at least 15 SAA troops and destroyed a BMP vehicle.
Furthermore, Faylaq al-Sham uses vehicles supplied to it by Turkey:
The Idlib de-escalation zone was agreed within the Astana talks on Syria by Turkey, Iran, Russia. Under the agreement, a ceasefire should be established in the area between the SAA and “moderate opposition” groups. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other internationally-recongized terrorist groups are excluded from the ceasefire.
A large-scale operation launched by the so-called “moderate opposition” in support of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham shows that the de-escalation zone de-facto collapsed.
All images in this article are from South Front.