According to a report from the nearby Hama Governorate, the Russian and Syrian air forces have been launching nonstop airstrikes over southern Idlib.
Several strikes have already been reported around the key town of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, which is the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) next major target in the Idlib Governorate.
Over the last three days, the Syrian Arab Army has been building up their forces along the southern and southeastern axes of Idlib, with reports of several tanks arriving to help with the upcoming offensive.
As of December 19th, 2019, there are reports that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has kicked off the second phase of their Idlib offensive this evening after reports of their troops getting in position for the attack.
Led by the 25th Special Mission Forces (formerly Tiger Forces), the Syrian Arab Army began the attack by the storming the jihadist defenses at the Umm Al-Jalil axis in southeastern Idlib.
According to a military source near the front-lines, the primary objective of this operation is to capture the remaining towns and villages south of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man.
By doing so, the Syrian Army will control a large part of the strategic Hama-Idlib Highway and an important part of the Jabal Al-Zawiya region.
It should be noted that the jihadist militants themselves have been aware of this operation, as they have sent reinforcements from Latakia and other parts of northwestern Syria to this front.