On September 21, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and members of several militant groups exchanged fire in the northern Lattakia countryside.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the militants shelled several positions of the SAA in the town of Qalat Shalaf. The army responded by targeting the militant-held towns of Kabani and al-Haddadah.
“This [the shelling] coincided with the flight of Russian reconnaissance planes in the airspace of the region,” the UK-based monitoring group said in its report.
A day earlier, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) deployed infantry units, battle tanks and armored vehicles near Kabani and other towns in northern Lattakia. The terrorist group’s presence in the region is a violation of the Sochi agreement.
The mounting tension in the northern Lattakia countryside suggests that the region could witness a major escalation in the near future. HTS and its allies may be planning to launch large-scale attack in the region to abduct and kill civilians, similar to what they did in 2013 and 2014.