On Wednesday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 10th Tank Division – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) – launched a large-scale offensive that targeted the strategic cities of Al-Lataminah, Latmeen, Kafr Zita, and Qala’at Al-Madeeq in the Hama Governorate’s northern countryside.
The offensive got off to a great start for the Syrian Armed Forces, as they captured the villages of Al-Mughayr, Markabat, and Lahaya, while also capturing the three hilltops of Tal ‘Uthman, Tal Sakhar, and Tal Sikeek after a series of intense firefights with the Islamist rebels of Liwaa Suqour Al-Ghaab (Al-Ghaab Hawks Brigade), the Free Syrian Army’s 101st Brigade, and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra.”
However, the offensive took a bad turn when the Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Forces pushed too deep into the towns of Kafr Naboudah and ‘Atshan; this resulted in the destruction of hardware and a high death toll for the Syrian Armed Forces.
All-in-all, the Syrian Armed Forces ended up losing 33 soldiers and 10 tanks/BMPs during their attempt to push deeper into the Kafr Zita and Latmeen countryside; this paved the way for a different approach on Thursday, which involved less ground forces and more airstrikes.
This contingency came to fruition on Thursday morning, as the Russian Air Force’s MI-24 Helicopter Gunships carried out numerous strikes on the Islamist rebels in the cities of Kafr Naboudah, Kafr Zita, Latmeen, Al-Lataminah, and ‘Atshan.
According to Islamist rebel social media activists, the Russian Air Force killed over 30 enemy combatants, while destroying 3 armored vehicles.
The Russian Air Force has continued to pound the Islamist rebels with airstrikes on Friday morning; this is likely to continue, as they attempt to weaken the Islamists frontline defenses.