On February 1, radical militants targeted military positions and residential areas in the town of Mahardah in the northern Hama countryside with heavy machine guns in a clear violation of the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone agreement.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) retaliated to this violation by shelling several positions of the militants in the opposition-held town of Arbain, few kilometers north of Mahardah.
“The army strikes killed several terrorists and injured others, some of their weapons and positions were also destroyed,” the SANA’s reporter in Hama said.
Radical groups, such as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Jaysh al-Izza, attack Mahardah on a regular basis. Last September, a rocket attack on the Christian town killed nine civilians, mainly women and children.
The demilitarized zone agreement has apparently failed to put an end to these attacks. Turkey claims that members of the US-led coalition are trying to sabotage the agreement. However, the situation on the ground suggests that Ankara is not fulfilling its commitments.