The Syrian Arab Army was able to fully secure Khan Sheikhoun after entering the city from all axes on Wednesday; this was followed by a thorough combing operation to ensure that Khan Sheikhoun was cleared of all explosives and militants.
While Khan Sheikhoun was not declared under the Syrian Army’s control until Thursday, all of the militants from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Jaysh Al-Izza had already withdrawn from the southern part of the city by Wednesday.
One of the major reasons Khan Sheikhoun fell so quickly to the Syrian Army was due to the military’s capture of the strategic hilltop of Talat Al-Nimr.
Talat Al-Nimr is a large hilltop that overlooks both the northern sector of Khan Sheikhoun and the Hama-Idlib Highway (var. M-5 Highway).
Following the loss of their most important supply line to Khan Sheikhoun, most of the militants inside the city abandoned their posts and fled to the Ta’manah area, where they exited the pocket before it was closed by the Syrian Army on Wednesday.
The Syrian Arab Army would follow up this advance by seizing several areas south of Khan Sheikhoun on Thursday.
With virtually nowhere to retreat, the remaining militants in northern Hama will likely rely on the Turkish Armed Forces for protection and a potential exit from this pocket.