Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops in southeast Idlib repelled in the noon of December 21 a counter-attack by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies.
The attack targeted newly-established positions of the SAA in the outskirt of the town of al-Ruffah, which was captured by the army in the first hours of the morning.
According to pro-government sources, the SAA repelled the counter-attack within a single hour, neutralizing most of the attackers and their equipment.
During the attack, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) of HTS targeted a gathering of Syrian troops in al-Ruffah. HTS claimed that 80 soldiers were killed or injured. However, pro-government sources said that the SVBIED was destroyed before reaching its designated target.
The failure of the counter-attack is a blow to HTS and its allies, which lost more than a dozen towns in southeast Idlib during the last 48 hours.