Today, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has captured the strategic town of Souran located north of the Ma’ardes village in the northern Hama countryside. Thus, the SAA reversed all gainst made by Haya’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and its allied militant groups last month.
The SAA, the Tiger Forces and the National Defense Forces (NDF) entered Suran this afternoon after a heavy bombing campaign by the Russian and Syrian air forces. Over 50 airstrikes hit HTS positions in and aroudn the town. The SAA also targeted fleeing HTS fighters with TOS-1A multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon system. Dozens of HTS fighters were reportedly killed.
HTS claimed its fighters had destroyed an SAA tank around Souran. Separately, the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups – Jaish Al-Ezzah and Jaish Al-Nasser – shelled the Hama airbase with over 40 Grad rockets. The rockets caused a fire in the airbase. The control tower was also damaged. The airbase is still operational and no jets were destroyed, according to an SAA source there. FSA also shelled civilian areas and government forces positions in Mahrdah, Qumhana and Salhab with Grad rockets after its huge lose in Souran.
It’s expected that SAA and its allies will attempt to develop their attack further. Helfaya could become the next SAA target. Capturing Helfaya will allow to secure civilians in Mahrdah from HTS and FSA attacks. In case of a success, the SAA may advance towards Morek and then Khan Shikun.
A look at Souran during the shelling: