This morning, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Force (NDF) have advanced in the Al-Zallaqiyat area north of Halafia in the northern Hama countryside.
The SAA and the NDF captured many points in the area but Ahrar al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) managed to repel the attack and prevent the SAA from capturing the strategic hill of Al-Zallaqiat.
It’s worth to mention that the SAA has considered that the northern Hama region is excluded from the safe zones agreement because HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) operates there. Thus, the SAA has a right to launch military operations in it.
From its side, Ahrar Al-Sham targeted the SAA while advancing in Al-Zallaqiyat area with rockets and mortars. Ahrar Al-Sham shelled military and civilian targets in the government-held village of Mohardeh with dozens of rockets, according to local sources inside the village.
Syrian air force warplanes bombed positions of HTS and Ahrar al-Sham in Al-Zallaqiyat, Al-Latamnah, Al-Lahaya, Murkbah and Al-Bweida. However, no airstrikes were carried out in the southern countryside of Idlib, which is included in the safe zones agreement.
Local activists and HTS called for a large demonstration in the city of Idlib near the Saad bin Waqqas mosque this evening against the Astana conference and the safe zones agreement.
Furthermore, Ahrar al-Sham has been reinforcing the forces of HTS in the northern Hama countryside, where the two groups appear to be planning a new attack against government forces.