On March 30 and 31, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled two attacks by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) near the Greater Idlib region.
The Syrian Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the first attack targeted positions located near the town of Basratun in the western Aleppo countryside, while the second targeted positions in al-Dana town in the southern countryside of Idlib.
“Army units inflicted a number of deaths and injuries among the militants,” the ministry said in a statement, without providing any count.
Near al-Dana, SAA troops captured the body of a field commander of HTS who was killed while leading the attack on the town.
From its side, HTS claimed that several soldiers were killed or wounded during its attack on Basratun on March 30. The terrorist group didn’t provide any footage to back its claims. It also claimed that two soldiers and an officer were killed and four others were wounded in the suicide attack near al-Dana.
The attacks were a blatant violation of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than two years ago.
HTS launched two similar attacks in the last ten days, both of which were repelled by the SAA. On March 23, ten militants and a field commander of the terrorist group were killed by the army during a failed attack on the 46th Regiment base in the western Aleppo countryside. Later on March 25, eight more militants were killed during an attack on the government-held town of Ruweiha in the southern countryside of Idlib.
The terrorist group escalated its attacks against the SAA five months ago in an apparent attempt to sabotage Russian efforts to restore ties between Ankara, who maintains a large force in Greater Idlib, and Damascus. The group fears that Turkish forces could withdraw from the region as a part of the normalization process. This would enable Damascus and its allies to resume ground operations there.