On Saturday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) killed 30 fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) during the clashes in the northern Ham countryside, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria. The SAA also destroyed a tank, and a vehicle armed with 23mm gun of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) according to the source.
The media outlet added that the SAA artillery shelled positions of HTS in al-Hamdaniya, Tell Maraq, Khwein al-Kabir, Umm Elkhalayel, Musheirifat Tell Khanzer, al-Tubiyah, Tell Khanzer, Atshan and Sukayk villages in the northern Hama countryside.
Meanwhile, the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a announced that Abu Dali village in the northern Hama countryside is still under the siege by HTS fighters. According to Iba’a, HTS fighters captured al-Asuad Hill south of Abu Dali, and destroyed a tank and a vehicle of the SAA during the last 24 hours.
Syrian-pro government forces claimed that the SAA launched its counter-attack to recapture all lost positions in the northern Hama countryside and to break the Abu Dali village siege. However, so far no advance has been reported.
HTS likely launched this limited attack to gain public support in case it decided to attack the Turkish Army, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups who launched a military operation in Idlib governorate.