Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad launched a surpruse counter-attack against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allied militant groups in the northern countryside of Hama on April 5.
Pro-government fighters launched an attack early in the morning, targeting militants in the important town of Halfaya located northeast of Mahardeh. The town of Halfaya had been under intense artillery and air strikes since the start of the week.
As a result, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and local pro-government units were able to enter the town amid an intense fighting with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)-led forces.
Some pro-government sources already claimed that Halfaya had been seized by the SAA and its allies. However, this was not confirmed. Indeed, an intense fighting is still ongoing in the area right now.
Government forces are shelling militant positions in Taybat al-Imam in order to prevent HTS-led forces from sending reinforcements to Halfaya:
Meanwhile, clashes erupted in the town of Maardas that the SAA had lost to HTS and its allies yesterday. Government troops attempted to retake the town from HTS-led forces but was not able to do this fast. The fighting is ongoing in the area.
Airstrikes on militant positions in Maardas:
Yesterday videos. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants attacked Maardes, pro-government fighters fled: