Thursday, June 30, 2016

The FSA/Al-Qaeda Capture of Kinsabba

On July first, the FSA First Coastal Division, in coordination with Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda Syrian wing) and Ahrar al-Sham captured the strategic town of Kinsabba, Latakia. This is the first major rebel gain in Latakia since Russia intervened in late 2015.

The assault began at night and continued until the morning, seeing the capture of the surrounding hills and then Kinsabba itself. The attack was well coordinated. It began with shelling of the town followed by it being stormed by Nusra and Ahrar.

The First Coastal Division targeting Kinsabba with Grad rockets.

Ahrar al-Sham targeting the town with a ZPU-2.

FSA Central Division firing on Kinsabba.

Jabhat al-Nusra firing on Kinsabba.

Jabhat al-Nusra firing on the town, by now it is early morning.

First Coastal Division.

After shelling the town, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham stormed it.

Jabhat al-Nusra officially announce the capture of Kinsabba.

The FSA First Coastal Division film from inside Kinsabba after its capture.

The FSA First Coastal Division film their companions, Jabhat al-Nusra, on a BMP-1 in Kinsabba.

More Nusra fighters filmed by the FSA inside Kinsabba.

Several tanks and other equipment were left behind by the retreating Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Force.

T-55s now flying the Jabhat al-Nusra flag.

One of the three T-55s when it was first captured by Ahrar al-Sham.

T-55s when they were first found by Nusra

The capture of Kinsabba is quite a setback for the Syrian armed forces. It also clearly shows cooperation between US backed moderate forces and Al-Qaeda. There are reports of the Russian air force striking the town after its capture, so it is possible the rebels could be compelled to retreat. If they don't, and the Russian air force doesn't step in again, they will likely advance further.

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