Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, has lost 350 fighters in northern Hama since May 21, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, revealed on May 24.
The terrorist group also lost five battle tanks, one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), 27 pickup trucks, two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and three multiple missile launcher systems.
Despite these heavy loses, HTS is massing its forces and preparing to launch a new ground attack on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Hama, according to Maj. Gen. Kupchishin.
“Over the past two days, more than 800 militants, at least seven tanks, three armored infantry carries, 15 pickup trucks with heavy machineguns have been pulled to the southwestern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. According to reconnaissance data, terrorists are planning to use from two to four car stuffed with explosives and driven by suicide bombers to stage an offensive on the Syrian army,” the Russian news agency, TASS, quoted the Russian commander as saying.
HTS, backed by Turkish-backed factions, managed to recapture the town of Kafr Nabudah in northern Hama earlier this week.
Any new attack by the terrorist group and its allies will likely force the SAA to resume its ground operation in northern Hama. The operation was halted on May 18 for unclear reasons.