Iraq militia aims to lift siege
on Idlib Shiite towns

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba touted that its leader is personally leading the offensive toward Fuaa and Kafriyeh.

Akram al-Kaabi. (Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba Media)

BEIRUT – The Iraqi Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba militia has announced that its leader is personally directing an offensive to lift a siege on a Shiite enclave in Idlib, despite a truce agreement in effect for the two towns.


“The mujahed sheikh Akram al-Kaabi is personally participating in the operations to lift the siege on Kafriyeh and Fuaa in Syria,” the militia—which has been at the forefront of fighting in the Aleppo province—announced Wednesday.


Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba touted that it “bolstered its forces in Syria today with elite special operations forces to lift the siege” on the two towns, which have been encircled by rebels since their seizure of the Idlib province in the summer.


A correspondent for the militia’s site praised Kaabi’s personal involvement in the operation, saying that his “presence on the battlefield has given a large boost to the resistance’s mujahedeen, emboldening them and prompting them to make great efforts to liberate Syrian territory… from the impurity of terrorism.”


A potential Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba offensive toward Fuaa and Kafriyeh would threaten a six-month ceasefire agreement brokered to end rebel bombardment of the Idlib enclave in return for Hezbollah and the Syrian regime stopping its offensive on the Damascus town of Zabadani.


Beyond only ending hostilities, the agreement also calls for the safe passage of civilians out of of Fuaa and Kafriyeh in exchange for rebel fighters holed up in Zabadani to be allowed to move to the Idlib province.


While the ceasefire has been honored, with only a few minor violations taking place, the population transfers have yet to be implemented.


On Thursday, pro-Hezbollah daily Al-Akhbar reported that the humanitarian situation in the Shiite enclave had grown dire, warning that the winter was set to bring further hardships to the residents of Fuaa and Kafriyeh.


Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba—which openly admits it receives direct support from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps—was one of the first Iraqi Shiite militias to enter Syria to fight on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.


In the past year, it has bolstered its presence in Syria and taken up growing battlefield roles in the Aleppo province, where Iran has reportedly deployed hundreds of its own troops and helped supervise the regime’s efforts to regain ground.


The militia in a statement emphasized its role in the campaign to lift ISIS’s siege of the regime’s Kuweires Airbase southwest of Aleppo on Tuesday.


“The Syrian army and the Harakat al-Nujaba Islamic resistance broke the siege that lasted several years,” the group hyped in a statement issued Wednesday.


“The forces achieved a great victory in a huge military operation that went on for several days,” it added.

Akram al-Kaabi. (Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba Media)

The mujahed sheikh Akram al-Kaabi is personally participating in the operations to lift the siege on Kafriyeh and Fuaa in Syria.