The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF), backed up by the Russian Air Force, recaptured the town of Bakhira west of the loyalist stronghold of Qamhana as a result of a swift military operation. Moreover, the SAA managed to recapture the villages of Arzeh and Balhiseen and began bombardment of the strategic Khattab town as a preliminary measure before launching its storm.
From its side, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) declared its control over Point 50 which overlooks Qamhana. Though loyalist sources in the town denied the claim. HTS also targeted the Homs-Salamiyah highway in an attempt to cut the strategic road through which SAA reinforcements heading to Hama. The NDF, however, was able to repel the attack.
Photos of the HTS attack at the Homs-Salamiyah highway:
Tensions between Ahrar al-Sham and HTS are on the rise again in Idlib following the stagnation of the Hama offensive.
Ahrar al-Sham blamed HTS fighters for shelling its center in the Killi village. The opposition media man Mohammad Ali Bakkour (loyal to Ahrar al-Sham) was found dead outside of Idlib city hinting that infighting might return to the jihadist-held province.
The Syrian and Russian air forces continue to pummel HTS fortifications and reinforcement convoys all throughout Idlib and Hama countryside. Airstrikes struck Bdama, Al-Lataminah, and Taybat al-Imam. As a result of these airstrikes, Amin Al-Bayour who is the military commander of the Free Idlib Army was killed as he fought alongside HTS in the current battles.
— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@CT_operative) March 30, 2017
The expected SAA attack on Khattab to begin the counterattack that will not be limited to only recapturing this area, but may be extendto secure the entire Hama province.