The Turkish-backed factions that participate in the Olive Branch Operation finished the first phase of the battle in Afrin enclave.
Controlling the entire border strip between Turkey and Afrin on one hand and opening a military passage between A’zaz city and Idlib Province can be considered as a significant military achievement.
Moreover, March 2018 may witness new military realities in Afrin enclave especially that the Turkish-backed factions are close to making military advancement in different axes such as Jandairis, Rajo, and Al-Shaykh Hadid during the second phase of the Olive Branch Battle. Consequently, a safe land corridor will be opened in the near future.
On Feb. 9, 2018, the Assad’s forces were able to impose military control on the entire Al Hijaz Railway Zone on the account of the FSA and ISIS. Further, the Assad’s forces tried to advance towards the west of Al Hijaz Railway zone in order to create a new military axis that can lead to Saraqeb city in Idlib eastern countryside.
After controlling the ISIS-held 1100-KM2 military enclave that located between Aleppo, Hama, and Idlib countryside by the Assad’s forces, ISIS was allowed to retreat towards the west of Abu Dali village. However, Dahr Al Ghozat military room led by different military factions was able to foil ISIS attempt to advance towards Al-Tamanah town, in addition, to forcing ISIS’ combatants to surrender in Al Khuwayn village.
February 2018 witnessed the establishment of three Turkish observation points along the zone west of Al Hijaz Railway near Al Eis village (near Al Hader village), Tell Touqan (near Saraqeb), and Tell Sarman (near Maarrat Al-Nu’man).
February 2018 witnessed a military escalation by the Assad’s forces backed by Iran and Russia against Eastern Al Ghouta. During the last week, the Assad’s forces and foreign militias launched a military offensive from several axes against Easter Al Ghouta.
On Feb. 25, 2018, the Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution 2401 that demanded the cessation of the military actions for 30 days alongside lifting the siege upon the Eastern Al Ghouta and other inhabited areas, as the resolution to be put into implementation immediately. However, Al Nusra Front was excluded and the Assad’s forces backed by Russia and Iran exploited the situation for continuing the military operation in Eastern Al Ghouta.