Late on September 3, Idlib militants carried out an attack on Russia’s Hmeimim Airbase with armed unmanned aerial vehicles. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the airbase’s air-defense forces intercepted all the UAVs. The attack caused no casualties or damage at the airbase.
The attack took place just a few days after the start of the ceasefire in the Idlib zone on August 31. It demonstrates that despite diplomatic efforts by the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance, Idlib militant groups are not very interested in a real de-escalation in the region.
On September 4, the Suqour al-Sham Brigades accused Russian special forces of attacking positions of its fighters near Ejaz in southern Idlib. The militant group said that two its members were killed and seven others were injured.
Last week, at least sixteen militants of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement were killed in southern Idlib in a similar mysterious development. That militant groups also blamed the Russians.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are preparing to launch a military operation to secure Aleppo’s city center, according to reported in local media. Several units of the SAA and 1,500 Iranian-backed fighters will reportedly take part in the operation that would target militants’ positions in the districts of al-Zahra and al-Rashidin, north and northwest of the city.
Over the past year, militants in al-Zahra and al-Rashidin have fired hundreds of rockets and mortars on Aleppo’s city center, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. They even attacked the city with chlorine gas last November.
The SAA is expanding its infrastructure at the T4 airbase in the province of Homs, according to reports and satellite images appearing online. The images show that the length of the airbase’s southern runway is being expanded from 3,200 m to 3,750 m. A third runway is also apparently being built.
Pro-Israeli sources link this development with the growing Iranian presence in the country. Iran uses the T4 airbase as one of the sites involved in drone operations across Syria.