Ma’arat Al-Numan 5 days rebels offensive (12-16 Dec 2014)

The battle was led mainly by Jahbat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa. Some unconfirmed reports say some FSA units also bring TOW support to the attack.

Fighting erupted near Hamidia and Wadi Deif loyalists controlled army bases on Dec 12 & 13.

On December 14, rebels captured 7 checkpoints near both bases

On December 15, they captured Wadi Deif first then Hamidia a few hours after. A general collapse in Loyalists lines happened, the only place left in their control on Dec 15 in the evening being Ma’ar Hattat.

On December 15 and 16, some Loyalists troops tried to flee to Morek SAA controlled area, with the main road to the South closed (Khan Shaykhun controlled by rebels); they were harassed by the rebels who killed several troops and captured materials, meanwhile “dozens” of soldiers and 10 tanks reportedly managed to escape to Morek.

After 5 days of battle, more than 100 Loyalists fighters and 80 rebels were killed. More than 200 hundred Loyalists were taken prisoners, and fate of few hundred is still unknown.

Military materials were seized by rebels in both bases with at least 20 tanks seized in Hamidia (inc T-72s)

This defeat for Loyalists points out difficulties the government has to keep besieged military enclaves, after the fall this year of Division 17, Brigade 93, Regiment 121 and Tabqa airbase.

The loss of Wadi Deif and Hamidia definetly closes M5 road Hama to Aleppo to Loyalists. As a result, rebels may choose to reinforce North Hama or Aleppo fronts. Loyalists may choose to stabilize North Hama front while keeping effort on strategic Aleppo front.

 

Situation on Dec 15, 2014 in the morning :

Maarat al numan rebels offensive 14 Dec 2014 by @desyracuse

 

Situation on Dec 15, 2014 in the afternoon :

Maarat al numan rebels offensive UPDATE 15 Dec 2014 by @desyracuse

 

Final situation and Loyalists escape route :

Maarat al numan rebels offensive UPDATE 17 Dec 2014 by @desyracuse

 

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