Senior commanders of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) agreed to fortify and reinforce their positons in northern Lattakia and northwestern Hama during a recent meeting, Sputnik reported on October 4.
Sources familiar with the situation told Sputnik that the meeting was held in the city of Jisr al-Shughur in northeastern Idlib. The city borders northern Lattakia from the west and the al-Ghab Plains in northwestern Hama from the south.
“The main objective of the meeting was to agree to fortify the entire northwestern front of Hama governorate and the northern Lattakia countryside and to provide foreign militants with advanced weapons, which were recently supplied to the al-Nusra Front [HTS’ original name],” the Russian news agency quoted one of the sources as saying.
According toЫputnik, the newly-supplied weapons include anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), jamming devices and around 200 armed drones. The sources said that the weapons came from Syria’s border with Turkey.
Beside deploying these advanced weapons, the TIP sent many of its foreign fighters to the front lines in the al-Ghab Plains and around the key town of Kabani in northern Lattakia.
Sputnik’s sources estimated that at least 13,000 terrorists are currently present in northern Lattakia and northwestern Hama. According to the sources, foreign terrorists, especially Chinese Uyghurs, are living in closed communities.
The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) has been pounding terrorists’ positions in northern Lattakia for more than a week now. The TIP and HTS are apparently fearing that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will soon launch a ground operation in the region.