Idlib Victory Army takes Mastuma, pursues regime forces south

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The Idlib Victory Army coalition followed up the capture of the al-Mastuma military base on Wednesday by taking the village of Nahliya just south on Wednesday while pursuing regime forces retreating even farther south to Ariha. Rebel fighters announced their control of the village of Nahliya in a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday “The regime retreated in the direction of Ariha to the south of the base and the Victory Army is pursuing them,” Abu Qasoura, a leader in a participating rebel brigade, told Syria Direct on Wednesday. “Jund al-Aqsa and Jaysh al-Sunna were able to enter the base after many and ongoing defections from the regime’s army there,” he added, explaining the circumstances of the rebel seizure of the al-Moustama base on Tuesday. The base, located less than 10 kilometers south of Idlib city, became a focal point for fighting after rebels captured the provincial capital on March 28, leaving the regime with only a string of positions in the province leading back to its adjacent stronghold of Latakia. A video displaying materiel captured by the rebels showed that the Idlib Victory Army gained several 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missiles with launchers, dozens of RPG rounds, at least one of the tandem-warhead variety, and high-explosive and kinetic-kill tank rounds, according to an analysis by Syria Direct’s open source partner, Open Syria.