For the first time in more than five months, radical militants launched heavy improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) at the government-held town of al-Zahar in the northern Aleppo countryside on February 21.
“The terrorist attack caused material damage … However, no civilians were injured,” the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reporter in Aleppo said.
The attack triggered a fierce response from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), which shelled militant positions in the towns of Kafr Nabl, Hass, Basqala, Hish, Babuline, Maasaran and Khan al-Sabil in the southern Idlib countryside.
Over the last few days, militants stepped up their attacks on civilian areas in the government-held parts of Aleppo and Hama. In response, the army began to shell militants’ positions in northern Lattakia, northern Hama, southern Idlib and western Aleppo.
These attacks are a violation of the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement. Recent developments confirm that militants are determined to ignore the agreement. Therefore, the stance of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance on this kind of “de-escalation” is evolving toward a military option. On February 20, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that the operation to eliminate terrorists is “inevitable”.