On April 4, fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS; formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) conducted a hit and run attack on positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) around the town of Taqsis in the southern Hama countryside. The SAA entered Taqsis and four other villages near it on April 2 under a reconciliation agreement with locals.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that during the April 4 attack HTS fighters had been able to kill and injure several SAA soldiers. An artillery piece of the SAA, which was stationed near the town, was also destroyed by HTS fighters with an ATGM.
In response to the attack, the SAA shelled several positions of HTS in the villages of Tulul al-Humur and Aydon in southern Hama and in al-Ghantu village in northern Homs, according to Syrian pro-government sources.
Local observers viewed the HTS attack on Taqsis as an attempt to sabotage the reconciliation agreement between the government and local leaders.
Since 2015, HTS has worked to sabotage any agreement between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Damascus government. However, when the situation becomes complicated, HTS is often one of the first groups that are ready to sign an evacuation agreement with Damascus. Some Syrian opposition sources believe that HTS has adopted this policy to weaken the FSA.