In the early hours of March 9, a unit of the Jaysh al-Ahrar attacked a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) west of the Christian town of al-Suqaylabiyah in the northern Hama countryside.
Jaysh al-Ahrar is a part of the National Front for Liberation (NFL). The coalition, which includes several radical groups, was founded in 2018 with direct support from Turkey.
In an official statement, the Turkish-backed group claimed that its fighters killed more than nine service members of the SAA in the course of the attack. The group said that one of the casualties was an officer.
Contrary to Jaysh al-Ahrar’s claims, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the SAA managed to repel the attack following heavy clashes.
“The clashes ended with the failure of the terrorist attack after killing and injuring most of the terrorists and forcing the rest to withdrew,” the SANA’s reporter in Hama said.
Jaysh al-Ahrar acknowledged that one of its prominent military commander were killed during the attack. The commander was identified as Mohamad Hamoud al-Mahmoud, who is known by his nom de guerre Abu Yosha Al-Wasatani.
The new attack came only a day after the beginning of the Turkish military patrols within the demilitarized zone around Idlib. This reflects Turkey’s failure to implement its commitments under the September de-escalation agreement.
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