Several offensive units of the Tiger Forces and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have been redeployed from the regions of Eastern Qalamun and Eastern Ghouta to the northern Homs countryside, Syrian pro-government activists reported on April 27.
According to the activists, the deployment of the Tiger Forces is a part of the ongoing preparations for a large-scale military operation against Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Rastan pocket.
The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and the Russian Aerospace Force are expected to play a key role in the upcoming military operation, that could begin within a few weeks.
On April 27, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria reported that the SAA had shelled a HQ of HTS in the Rastan pocket, which also indicates that the military operation may be near. Two senior HTS commanders named “Abu Khalid al-Hamuy” and “Abu Ramah al-Hamuy” were killed in the shelling, according to the source.
Over the last two weeks, the SAA has launched four attacks against HTS and its allies in northern Homs. However, these attacks have failed because of a lack of the firepower and an elite offensive force such as the Tiger Forces.
Local observers believe that a well-organized military operation led by the Tiger Forces and supported by Russia could force HTS and its allies in northern Homs to surrender within a week or two, tops. In this case, the Syrian government will likely implement a reconciliation agreement in the area allowing militants to settle their legal status or to withdraw without heavy weapons.