On November 10, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, claimed that its special forces had killed 18 Syrian soldiers and 7 Russian service member during an attack on an “operations room” of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the village of al-Tarbi’a in the northern Hama countryside.
A military commander in HTS, Omar al-Mahmoud, told the group’s news network Iba’a that the supposed operation was a response to the SAA attack on a position of Jaysh al-Izza [an ally of HTS] a day earlier. More than 23 fighters and commanders of Jaysh al-Izza were reportedly killed in the attack.
“The Mujahedeen have many observed and ready targets and we will surprise the enemy in the right time and the right way,” Iba’a quoted al-Mahmoud as saying.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) confirmed that a group of militants had attempted to attack an SAA position in the northern Hama countryside. However, it said in a report that the army foiled the attempt.
“The clashes ended with the failure of the terrorist attack after killing many members of the terrorist group and forcing the rest to run away leaving their weapons and equipment behind,” the SANA’s reporter in Hama said.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia is yet to comment on HTS’ claims. However, the available information indicate that the radical group had exaggerated the results of its attacks.