On May 19, a new radical group called “Saraya al-Jihad” claimed responsibility for the explosions, which rocked the Hama airbase, west of Hama city, on May 18. The group claimed in an official statement that one of its cells had planted several IEDs inside the ammo and fuel depots in the airbase, which led to the destruction of most of the airbase’s facilities and the death of 50 soldiers and officers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Saraya al-Jihad also released few low quality photos from inside the Hama airbase. However, none of these photos showed any IEDs being planted or detonated.
A military source from Hama airbase told SouthFront that all of these claims are false and revealed that the explosions were caused by a fire that was set up by local farmers who were trying to burn the arid grass near the base. The fire reached the ammo depots first and the fuel depots were the last to explode, contrary to what Saraya al-Jihad claims, according to the source.
Syrian pro-government sources also confirmed that the explosions in the Hama airbase injured several soldiers of the SAA, but none were killed, which also confirm that Saraya al-Jihad claims are false.
Local observers believe that Saraya al-Jihad and its statement are nothing more than a propaganda stunt, which was likely orchestrated by radical activists to raise the moral of the Syrian opposition supporters.