Early on August 6, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a limited ground offensive on militants’ positions in the northern Lattakia countryside.
Army units advanced towards al-Hadadah hill in the al-Kurd Mount under the cover of artillery. Heavy clashes broke out with al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and other jihadi groups present in this area.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nine Syrian service members and five jihadists have been killed, so far.
“The death toll will likely rise as many of the wounded [on both sides] are in a critical condition,” the monitoring group said in a report.
The army’s limited attack appears to be a response to the militants’ repeated shelling in northern Lattakia. Earlier this week, a number of soldiers were killed and injured by militants’ fire. Russian warplanes responded with airstrikes on August 3.
Tension is mounting in Greater Idlib. A day earlier, a number of soldiers and militants were killed when heavy clashes broke out in the southern part of the region.
Recent reports revealed that the SAA and its allies are preparing to launch a new operation in Greater Idlib. The recent developments in the region indicate that the operation will start very soon.