Leadership of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) has responded to setbacks suffered by the terrorist group in northeastern Hama whith an alleged chemical attack on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions north of the village of Maqartin.
According to pro-government sources, the chemical attack was a key reason behind the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s success in the area. Al-Qaeda-linked militants captured Balil, Um Turaikiya and nearby points but failed ti advance forther to the south and capture Qahira and Maqarin.
The SAA is now reporteldy deploying reinforcements to the area to re-take the lost positions. If Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is not able to develop momentum further right now, this attack will have little impact on the strategic situation north and northeast of the city of Hama. However, it will likely contribute to the will of the SAA leadership to deal with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham with military means after the expected liberation of al-Bukamal.
Videos from pro-opposition outlets: