Siege of al-Fu'ah and Kafriya

Siege of al-Fu'ah and Kafriya
Part of the Syrian Civil War

Map of Syria with Idlib highlighted
Date28 March 2015 – present
(1 year, 8 months, 1 week and 3 days)
LocationAl-Fu'ah and Kafriya, Idlib District, Idlib Governorate, Syria
(For a war map of the current situation around al-Fu'ah and Kafarya, see here.)


  • Rebels capture al-Suwaghiyah and Tal al-Khirbat[1][2]
  • Two ceasefires[3]

Army of Conquest[4]

Syrian opposition Free Syrian Army[1]

Syria Syrian Arab Republic

Commanders and leaders
  • Abu Saleh al-Uzbeki[8]
    (Katibat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad' leader)
  • Sheikh Abu Al-Hassan Al-Tounisi 
    (al-Nusra leader)[9]
3,000–4,000[10] 4,000[11]
Casualties and losses
650+ killed (gov. claim)[10]
74–100+ killed (Sep. 2015 assault)[12][2]
40+ killed (Sep. 2015 assault)[13]
7 civilians killed (Sep. 2015 assault)[13]
80+ civilians and government soldiers killed or wounded (March–Sep. 2016)[14]

The Siege of al-Fu'ah and Kefriya refers to the siege of the towns of al-Fu'ah and Kafriya in the Idlib Governorate during the Syrian Civil War. The siege was initiated with a rebel assault on the capital of the province, resulting in the capture of Idlib.

The siege


On 28 March 2015, after four days of fighting, rebels captured Idlib city and managed to besiege the towns of Kafriya and al‐Fu'ah.[15] Thousands of civilians were trapped since.[16] Army of Conquest and its main component al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda branch in Syria) since then imposed a full siege blocking all humanitarian supplies to the towns and several executions were reported to happen in Idleb province for people accused to smuggle goods into Kafriya and al‐Fu'ah [17]

On 2 August, the Army of Conquest announced it would continue its operations against the besieged enclave of Kafriya and al-Fu’ah.[18] On 10 August, the rebels launched an assault on al-Fu'ah, after detonating a car bomb and tunnel bomb, and advanced towards it.[19]

On 31 August, rebels launched a powerful attack on the Shia enclave and captured al-Suwaghiyah, forcing the government soldiers to retreat to Tal Khirbat.[1]

Between 3 September and 5 September, the rebels intensively shelled the enclave and launched a number of attacks on al-Fu'ah and Kafriya from Maarrat Misrin, al-Suwaghiyah and Idlib city. The attacks were repelled, with the Army reportedly destroying three armoured vehicles.[20]

On 18 September, the rebels launched a new attack on the enclave, firing almost 400 shells and rockets, while nine car bombs (including seven suicide bombers) were detonated at government positions. The clashes led to the death of at least 29 rebels and 21 government soldiers, as well as seven civilians.[16] The SOHR reported that the rebels gained some ground.[21][22] Ajnad al-Sham threatened to shell Fu'ah and Kefriya with over 100 mortars a day.[23][24]

On 19 September, rebels advanced again in the vicinity of al-Fuah,[25] capturing Tal Al-Khirbat and a number of checkpoints around it.[2] On the other hand, the government troops repelled the rebels attack on the nearby village of Deir Al-Zughb.[26] According to government claims, the rebels lost over 100 fighters, including 31 from foreign countries.[2]

The overall number of suicide bombers with VBIEDs that attacked al-Fou’aa and Kafraya in the battle of 18–19 September was estimated to be 26 VBIEDs. The attackers were: 11 Uyghur Chinese, one Lebanese, 2 Saudis and 11 Syrians.[27]

On 20 September, a second cease-fire in al-Zabadani/Madaya and al-Fou’aa/Kafriya was implemented, where the rebels allowed humanitarian aid to the besieged civilians of al-Fou’aa and Kafriya.[3] A violation of this cease-fire was reported the next day as the rebels resumed shelling the towns.[28]


On 11 January 2016, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Programme organized an aid convoy to deliver food, medicine and other aid to Kefriya and Fu'ah, along with Madaya in the south.[29] Despite several humanitarian convoys entering the besieged area, the citizens were still suffering from very difficult survival conditions, basic medical care, vaccines and food are not available and al-Nusra front fighters continue to bombard the towns causing daily casualties among civilians.

On 21 July, two ill civilians from Fuah and Kefraya were evacuated to Latakia by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, in return for two ill civilians also being evacuated from Zabadani to Idlib. Medical and food aid arrived to the towns, in addition to Qalaat al-Madiq.[30]

At the end of September, 52 aid trucks went to Zabadani and Madaya and 19 arrived in Fuah and Kefraya, which has around 20,000 residents combined.[31]

On 21 November, rebel shelling and sniper fire killed at least one civilian in Fuah and Kefraya.[32]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Leith Fadel. "Jaysh Al-Fateh Launches Their Largest Assault on Kafraya and Al-Fou'aa". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Islamist Rebels Suffer Heavy Casualties in Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya: Dozens of Foreigners Killed". Leith Fadel. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  3. 1 2 Leith Fadel. "Breaking: Ceasefire Brokered in Al-Zabadani/Madaya and Al-Fou'aa/Kafraya". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  4. "Al Qaeda and allies form coalition to battle Syrian regime in Idlib". Long War Journal. 24 March 2015.
  5. "Taliban-Aligned Uzbek Suicide Bomber Attacks Shi'ite Village In Syria". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  6. "Caleb Weiss". Twitter. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  7. Joscelyn, Thomas (18 September 2015). "Al Nusrah Front, allies strike 2 Shiite towns in Idlib province". Long War Journal.
  8. "Elijah J. Magnier". Twitter. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  9. Leith Fadel. "Syrian Armed Forces Kill the Former Bin Laden Aide Turned Syrian Rebel in Idlib". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. 1 2 Fadel, Leith (29 September 2015). "Over 650 Islamist Rebels Killed During the Battle for Kafraya and Al-Fou'aa". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  11. Syria army, rebels reach deal on Zabadani, Idlib villages: source
  12. "Temporary truce begins in four Syrian towns". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. 1 2 "Ceasefire agreed for 3 Syria battlegrounds". Business Insider. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  14. 'A massacre is inevitable': Punishing siege drags on for two Shiite villages in Syria
  15. "Peto Lucem on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  16. 1 2 "Rebels pound Shiite villages: Observatory". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  17. "الصفحة غير موجودة. - المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  18. Master. "Al- Fateh Army announces the continuation of its operations against Kefraya and al- Fu'ah". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  19. Master. "Violent attack launched by Jabhat al- Nusra the rebel and Islamist factions on the town of Al-Fu'ah, and the clashes renew in Sahl al- Ghab". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  20. Leith Fadel. "Jaysh Al-Fateh's Attempt to Enter Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya Proves Unsuccessful". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  21. Master. "64 people killed in the violent attack on the two towns of al- Fu'ah and Kefrayya". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  22. edward. "المروحي يقصف ريف إدلب الجنوبي واستمرار المعارك في محيط الفوعة وقصف جوي على جبال اللاذقية". المرصد السورى لحقوق الإنسان. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  23. "Ibn Nabih". Twitter. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  24. "Ibn Nabih". Twitter. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  25. Edward. "Continued clashes in the vicinity of Kafriya and al-Fou'aa and airstrikes on the southern countryside of Idlib". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  26. "Clashes on the Deir Al-Zughb & Sewaghiyah fronts". Hassan Ridha. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  27. "محمد بلوط: الزبداني خارج الحرب.. والفوعة وكفريا الامتحان الأصعب :: الصفحة الرئيسة - جريدة السفير". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  28. Edward. "One died in the countryside of Idlib and shelling on Wadi Barada and breach of the cease-fire in Kafrayya, al-Fou'aa and Madaya". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  29. Kareem Shaheen (11 January 2016). "Trucks from aid convoy enter besieged Syrian town of Madaya". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  30. "Ill people got out of Zabadani, Kafriya and Al-Fu'ah and aid convoy waits to enter Kafriya and al-Fu'aa and threats to target them by field commander". SOHR. 21 July 2016.
  31. "Humanitarian aid reaches four locations in Syria". Observador. 25 September 2016.
  32. "An agreement to bring relief to 4 towns deteriorates as regime, rebels punish civilians in equal measure". Syria:direct. 23 November 2016.

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