On April 24, government forces, led by the Tiger Forces and the 5th Assault Corps, continued their successull offensive against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allied militant groups in northern Hama.
Following a preliminary artillery bombardment, government troops entered a small village of Massanah, located south of the important militant-held town of Lataminah. After few hours of heavy clashes, the Tiger Forces and its allies were able to get control over the village, according to pro-government sources. However, the situation remained tense and firefights continued in the vicinity of Massanah.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Zor al-Hisah and Zilaqiat where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies counter-attacked against government forces. An intense fighting is now ongoing there.
Multiple airstrikes were reported in the militant-held towns of Lataminah, Morek and Kafr Zita.
HTS, Ahrar al-Sham and smaller militant groups are now suffering a lack of manpower and military equipment at the frotnline as a result of the almost two-month long battle in northern Hama. A majority of their losses were caused by airstrikes and artillery shelling by government forces and their allies.
If HTS-led forces continue attempts to defend Lataminah with all means from the government advance, the failure in this aim could lead to a total collapse of the militant defenses in the Hama-Idlib countryside.
One of the forecasts of the ongoing government advance that are now popular in the pro-government section of the social media:
SF’s analysis of the situation: