DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:50 P.M.) – The battle for Kawbab did not go to plan for jihadist forces as approximately 40 fighters from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) alone were neutralized on Saturday alone. Other rebel factions also sustained tens of casualties in and around Kawbab, a military source informed Al-Masdar News.
Two Islamist commanders, one from HTS and the other from Jaish Al-Nasr, were among the deceased militants, namely: Abu Al-Fateh and Abd Al-Hameed Al-Hudairy. The majority of jihadist casualties were Syrian militants originating from rural Idlib according to ID found on their corpses, the source added.
On the other hand, a Free Syrian Army faction claimed to have killed upwards of 150 government troops with a single surface-to-surface missile that struck a gathering of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers in northern Hama.
In other news, the FSA affiliated Jaish al-Nasr pounded Hama Airbase with Soviet-manufactured GRAD rockets in a bid to destroy stationary Syrian warplanes.
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Meanwhile, photos published by HTS’ media department suggested Abu Mohammad Al-Julani to be the commander-in-chief of the jihadist offensive in northern Hama. This infamous commander formerly led Jabhat Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria.
Remarkably, rebel forces are just 4-5 kilometers from the provincial capital of Hama, a major city in central Syria which is populated almost exclusively by Sunni Muslims.
In 1982, the Muslim Brotherhood led a revolt in Hama which was eventually crushed by the SAA. A large portion of the local population is reportedly favorable to Islamist parties.