On August 15, four brigades of the Russian-backed 5th Assault Corps arrived in the northern Hama countryside as a part of the ongoing preparations to launch a large-scale military operation against militant groups there, according to the Syrian pro-government blog Muraselon.
The pro-government outlet added that the armed groups of Assad Shield, Mahardah Forces, ISIS Hunters, Ba’ath battalions and Tribal forces, which are affiliated with the 5th Assault Corps, also arrived in northern Hama.
The 5th Assault Corps, which was formed two years ago, is a part of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and follow its general commander. However, unlike the other armed formations of the SAA, the 5th Assault Corps’ receives direct military and financial support from Russia.
Furthermore, the 5th Corps includes thousands of former Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, who reconciled with the Damascus government recently. Most of these fighters are from northern Homs, Eastern Ghouta, Eastern Qalamun or even from southern Syria.
Over the past two year, the 5th Assault Corps participated in all the major attacks of the SAA, including the campaign against ISIS in central and eastern Syria and the military operations in Eastern Ghouta and southern Syria.
The deployment of such well-trained and equipped force in northern Hama will for sure complicate the situation for the militants there, who are panicking over the upcoming military operation of the SAA and its allies.