On April 6, fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham attacked an engineer unit of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) while it was building fortifications around the town of Taqsis in the southern Hama countryside, the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a reported. Iba’a claimed that HTS fighters had killed 3 SAA soldiers and had destroyed a bulldozer during the attack.
Iba’a also reported that a second group of HTS fighters had conducted a hit and run attack on a newly established checkpoint of the SAA near Taqsis. HTS fighters managed to blew up the checkpoint before withdrawing from it, according to the source.
In response to these attacks, the SAA artillery shelled several positions of HTS in the villages and towns of al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Alzaafaranah, al-Ghantu, Kafr Laha, al-Amiriyah and Ayun Hussain in the northern Homs countryside. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed that the shelling had resulted in casualties.
This was the second attack of HTS against the SAA in Taqsis within the last few days. On April 4, HTS fighters killed several Syrian soldiers during an attack on their position around the town.
HTS attacks are likely aimed at sabotaging the reconciliation agreement in the town of Taqsis that was implemented on April 2. These attacks are also a clear warning to the locals in the northern Homs pocket countryside who are currently negotiating with Russia and the Damascus government.