On July 6, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) declared the northern Hama countryside a “military zone” and called on the civilians there to evacuate the area immediately as it will soon become dangerous. HTS, which is the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, also called on all young men to join its ranks in order to support the militants in southern Syria.
An officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) told SouthFront that HTS and its allies of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) may soon launch a large scale attack not only in the northern Hama countryside, but also in the northern Lattakia countryside.
Last month, HTS called on all the armed groups in northern Syria to form a joint operations room and launch an attack against the SAA in order to support militants in the southern governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra. Several radical groups including the al-Qaeda affiliated groups Horas al-Din, Ansar al-Din and Ansar Allah answered HTS’ call, back then.
Any large ground attack in northern Syria will likely put an end to the de-escalation zone there, thus allowing the SAA, Iranian forces and the Russian Aerospace Forces to resume their military operations in the governorate of Idlib.