On July 31, militants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) raided a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the southern Idlib countryside.
In the afternoon, the militants attacked the position, which is located in the vicinity of the town of al-Ruwaihah. Heavy clashes were reported around the town.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that four SAA service members were killed and six others were injured. These claims are apparently false. Pro-government sources didn’t report any losses in Greater Idlib.
Following the raid, HTS launched a barrage of Grad rockets at SAA positions inside Ma`arat al-Nu`man city. No losses were reported.
The army responded to these provocations by shelling militants’ positions near al-Ruwaihah. At least one militant of HTS was killed and another was injured.
These attacks are a violation of the recent Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib. Ankara committed to neutralize the remaining terrorist groups in the region, including HTS, under the agreement. However, this is yet to happen.
The lack of any action by Turkey could force the SAA and its allies to go on the offensive. According to recent reports, the army is already preparing to launch a new operation in Greater Idlib.