On March 21, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaish al-Izzah, Jaish al-Nasr, Jaish idlib al-Hur, Ajnad al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic party and other militant groups launched a large advance against government forces in the northern part of the province of Hama.
The militants used two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices to break government defenses and to enter Suran and the Rahbet Khattab army base. In total, the militants used up to 10 battle tanks in the advance in the area.
Separately, multiple rocket launcher systems belonging to the militants massively shelled the Hama air base, allegedly damaging two warplanes belonging to the Syrian Air Force.
By March 22, the joint militant forces have seized Souran, the the Rahbet Khattab army base, the town of Khattab and launched an attempt to cut the Ma’ardas -Hama road. Heavy clashes are ongoing in the area.
Some pro-militant sources even reported that the “opposition” seized Al-Sheer, Ma’ardas and Iskandariyah. These reports have not been confirmed.
A Hayat Tahrir al-Sham map shows the militants’ advance on Souran and Khattab (blue):
According to pro-government sources, since March 21, the Syrian army has destroyed 3 battle tanks and 1 armoured vehicle belonging to the joint militant forces. In turn, pro-militant sources claim that the ‘opposition’ has captured a battle tank, destroyed a battle tank and killed “multiple regime fighters.”
Videos and photos show the militant advane in northern Hama: