Since last Friday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), supported by the Tiger Forces and the National Defense Forces (NDF), has been successfully advancing in the northern Hama countryside.
So far, government forces have captured:
- Al-Zalqat area
- Al-Tarabiaa checkpoint
The government advance on Halfaya:
On April 23, the SAA managed to advance after a very intensive shelling by BM-27 Urgan and BM-30 Smerch multiple launch rocket systems, that destroyed militant fortifications and positions in Halfaya and forced them to flee the town.
— SyrianMilitaryCap. (@SyrianMilitary) April 23, 2017
In the afternoon, militants of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Jaish al-Izza attempted to counter-attack with the aim of restoring the Zalaqiat area north of the town of Halfaya. However, the SAA repelled the attack. During the attack, Jaish al-Izza have managed to destroy a SAA tank using a TOW ATGM.
The Syrian and Russian air forces bombed positions and arms depots of HTS, Jaish al-Izza, and the Idlib Free Army in the town of Al-Lataminah.
The town of Lataminah is believed to be next target of the SAA in the Hama countryside. But the SAA has to stabilize its positions in the Zalaqiat north of Mahrada, and to regain a group of small villages located between Taibat al-Imam, Halfaya and Lataminah before the advance. These villages are Zour, Al-Mahrouka, Zour al-Harisa, Al-Masasina, Maarkaba and Lahayya.
It is expected that HTS-led forces will not be able to repel the current SAA’s attack because of they sustained heavy losses in manpower and military equipment during their failed attack on Qhomana at the beginning of this month.