The Tiger Forces (Syrian Arab Army Special Forces), backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF), have declared the strategic village of Halfaya under Syrian State Government control as of 6:30 P.M. (Damascus Time). According to a military source, the Tiger Forces broke through Jabhat Al-Nusra’s frontline defense and swiftly advanced north, as the NDF attacked from the east. Jabhat Al-Nusra suffered heavy casualties, as 38 militants were confirmed by the SAA as killed-in-action (KIA).
After a long 9 hour battle, the Syrian Arab Republic flag was raised in Halfaya, while all Jabhat Al-Nusra militants were killed, captured, or fled north to avoid the wave of soldiers heading in their direction. The SAA and NDF operations in Halfaya were headed by Sgt. Lu’ayy Sleitan – second in command of the prestigious Tiger Forces Brigade. Sgt. Sleitan offered Jabhat Al-Nusra militants a chance to surrender yesterday; however, a field commander from the Al-Nusra Front stated that Abu Mohammad Al-Jolani had fled the area and was not interested in surrender.
With Halfaya and Khattab under Syrian State Government control, the Jabhat Al-Nusra siege of Mhardeh is likely to be lifted. Mhardeh was besieged for over one week after Jabhat Al-Nusra captured the neighboring village of Halfaya to the east. The news of Halfaya’s capture paves the way for the embattled SAA troops in Morek and Kafr Zita to receive necessary reinforcements to continue their progress in west Hama.