On August 17, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) artillery shelled several positions and fortifications of Jaysh al-Izza around the town of Maarkaba in the northern Hama countryside, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The SANA’s reporter in northern Hama said that the SAA artillery also shelled fortifications of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the towns of Umm Elkhalayel, Khuwayn, Tell Shieh and Tell Mar’i in the southern Idlib countryside. Several fighters of HTS were reportedly killed and injured as a result of the shelling.
A day earlier, Major Jamil Saleh, leader of Jaysh al-Izza, warned that the SAA and its allies will launch a military operation in the opposition-held areas of northern Syria “soon.” Furthermore, four brigades of the SAA’s 5th Corps arrived in the northern Hama countryside.
Syrian pro-government activists believe that the SAA and its allies will launch a large-scale military operation in northern Syria after the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. The operation will likely cover northern Hama and northern Lattakia.