On August 18, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) clashed with a group of Jaysh al-Izza fighters, which was attempting to build fortifications around the towns of Abu Ubaydah, Maarkaba and Murak in the northern Hama countryside according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Several fighters of Jaysh al-Izza were reportedly killed and injured as a result of the clashes.
The Syrian state-run news agency also reported that the SAA artillery and rocket launchers shelled several positions of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the towns of Kafr Zita and Tell al-Sakhir, which are also located in the northern Hama countryside.
Syrian artillery and warplanes have been pounding the militant’s positions and fortifications in northern Hama and southern Idlib since the beginning of this month. Syrian pro-government activists believe that the SAA and its allies will soon launch a ground operation in these regions.
According to the SANA, the northern Hama and southern Idlib countrysides are infested with foreign Jihadists, who entered Syria from Turkey. The Russian-Turkish-Iranian de-escalation zone in northern Syria does not cover the areas held by these Jihadists and does not protect them.