On September 20, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies recaptured Tulaysiyah, al-Sha’thah and al-Qahirah villages in the northern Hama countryside, according to pro-government sources. Thus, the SAA recaptured all the positions it lost during the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) attack on September 19.
Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi confirmed said that the SAA fully repelled the HTS attack.
Moreover, Col. Gen. Rudskoi announced that the Russian Air Force killed 850 terrorists and destroyed 11 tanks, 4 infantry fighting vehicles, 46 pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 lorries and 38 ammunition depots of HTS in the last 24 hours.
Syrian opposition activists said that Russian warplanes conducted over 100 airstrikes in the southern Idlib countryside in the last 24 hours. Pro-government sources claimed that the Russian Air Force destroyed not only HTS positions but also positions of many other armed groups in Idlib.
Idlib governorate will likely witness another round of internal fighting among radical Islamist groups in it after the failed HTS attack. It’s believed that HTS launched the attack only to regain a public support after the “HTS leaks” scandal that exposed the hypocrisy of the HTS leadership.
In a separate development, the SAA allowed hundreds of civilians including families of ISIS fighters to leave the ISIS-held pocket in the eastern Hama countryside towards Idlib. The HTS-linked news agency Iba’a announced that HTS received the civilians who will settle in Idlib governorate.
The SAA allowed only women, children and elderlies to leave the ISIS pocket, according to pro-government source. The source added that the SAA operation against ISIS in the eastern Hama countryside is still ongoing.