On Saturday, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS; formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) took back Umm Haratayn and Qubaybat Abu al-Huda villages in the northern Hama countryside that were earlier captured earlier on Saturday by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), according to the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a.
The source added that HTS fighters killed 10 SAA soldiers and destroyed a BMP-1 of the SAA during their attack.
HTS militants are in Umm Haratayn:
Moreover, opposition sources claimed that HTS captured Qubaybat and Tall Aswad villages south of Umm Haratayn village during its counter-attack. However, no side has confirmed these claimed so far.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition sources confirmed that over 75 fighters of HTS and its allied US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) group – Faylaq al-Sham – were killed in a Russian airstrike that targeted an underground headquarter of Falaq al-Sham in Tell Mardikh village in the eastern Idlib countryside.
The sources reveled that many of the fighters who were killed in the Russian airstrikes were originally from Khan al-Shih and Darayya areas in Damascus governorate. The fighters had withdrawn to Idlib governorate after agreements with the Syrian government back in 2016.
HTS will likely continue to conduct limited attacks against the SAA in the northern Hama countryside for propaganda purposes. However, it’s very unlikely that HTS will be able to make any real change in the military balance in the area.