On September 7, nine civilians, mostly women and children, were killed and twenty others were injured when several rockets hit the Christian town of Mahardah in the northern Hama countryside, according to Syrian pro-government sources.
The National Defense Forces (NDF) revealed that cluster rockets were used in the attack, which explains the higher than usually death toll.
Syrian opposition sources said that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Tawhid group claimed responsibility for the attack on Mahardah. However, pro-government activists said that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Jaysh al-Izza were behind the shelling.
In response to the brutal attack, artillery and rocket forces of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled several positions of militants in the opposition-held part of the northern Hama countryside.
The upcoming hours will likely witness a heavier response by the Russian Airspace Forces because the shelling is considered a dangerous violation of the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria. Some pro-government activists even argued that the attack may provoke the long-awaited operation of the SAA in the region.