The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched offensive operations on a number of points and villages which Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies captured earlier this week. The SAA mainly attacked Ma’ardes, Khirbet al-Hijama, Arzeh, Sheeha, al-Sher, Majdal, Shalyut, and the outskirts of Ma’arzaf.
According to several sources, the Syrian Army was able to enter the town of Shaizer north of Mahardeh and is currently working on securing it and its overlooking citadel. Government forces also recaptured Khirbet al-Hijama.
HTS’s operations had slowed down in the region as the terrorist group is forced to go defensive in the recently captured areas. The US-backed moderate opposition group of Jaish Al-Izza continues providing support to HTS’s operations with its large stockpiles of TOW missiles.
At least 5 SAA soldiers were killed and other 9 were injured as a result of TOW missile strike in Ma’arzaf village.
In a separate development, the FSA-affiliated Jaish al-Izza claimed to destroy a Russian-made T-90 tank using a TOW missile. However, the released video shoowed a T-62m tank operating by the 5th Corps. Its crew members survived the attack. The tank itself would be restoored soon.
Russian Air Force continues to target HTS forces across the Hama countryside. 6 fighter jets and 4 gunships delivered airstrikes against HTS fortifications and points at the frontline.
The SAA counteroffensive is expected to resume soon as further reinforcements from Qalamoun Shield pour into the troubled province along with a batch of TOS-1A heavy flame-thrower systems.