During the last two weeks, the situation in the northern part of the Syrian province of Latakia remained relatively calim. However, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) carried out many raids against Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions in the area.
According to pro-SAA sources, the SAA and the National Defense Forces (NDF) ambushed a group of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fighters on April 1, killing many of them. The group was trying to sneak into SAA positions from the direction of Fulah, Shahrur and Shamas villages.
The SAA also downed two self-made armed drones that were trying to bomb SAA positions. Separately, the SAA destroyed a 130mm artillery around the village of Kabani.
On March 28, the First Coastal Division of the FSA, another US-backed ‘moderate opposition’ group, claimed that its fighters had downed a Russian Air Force jet with a 23mm gun. This statement was proven to be false.
On March 27, Ahrar al-Sham reported that the group had downed a helicopter in northern Latakia. A number of pro-government sources widely spreaded reports that it was a Russian military helicopter. However, the Russian Defense Ministry officially denied these fake news.
The First Coastal Division also targeted a gathering of Syrian soldiers with a Fagot missile on March 29. As a result, some Syian soldiers were injured and nobody was killed.
It’s expected that HTS and its moderate allies could heat up the situation in northern Latakia soon after their attack failed in Hama. However, this will be possible only if Turkey and its regional and global “friends” intensify military supplies to militant groups in western Syria.