On April 15, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) launched a military operation against the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria – Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies in the northern Homs countryside pocket.
Syrian pro-government sources reported that the SAA had managed to capture the villages of Qantara, Qunaytirat and Izz al-Din in the eastern part of the pocket since the start of the operation.
The Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi confirmed that at least seven warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) had conducted a series of airstrikes on different positions in the pocket supporting the SAA attack.
From its side, the HTS-linked news agency Iba’a claimed that the SAA attack had been repelled. HTS fighters destroyed three battle tanks, an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launcher and damaged a BMP-1 armored vehicle of the SAA, according to Iba’a.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SAA) reported that the militants in the northern Homs countryside pocket had lunched a rocket at the civilian areas in the city of Homs. According to the news agency, at least one woman and one child were injured in the rocket strike.
Local sources believe that the SAA will not be able to advance rapidly in the northern Homs countryside pocket because no elite SAA units are currently taking part in the attack. Reports suggests that the Tiger Forces, the 4th Division and the Republican Guard are all still positioned in the Damascus governorate.