BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:35 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defence Forces (NDF) have repelled a major assault by the Al-Qaeda-linked Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group in Hama Governorate’s southern countryside.
During the late night hours crossing over from yesterday to today, HTS militants within the Rastan pocket launched a large assault on SAA and NDF positions west of the strategic city of Salamiyah.
The jihadist attack targeted the town of Tal Darah and the military situation soon became so serious for pro-government forces, that the army was pushed to call on nearby artillery units and Russian airpower in order to break up HTS troop concentrations and buy time for SAA reinforcements to arrive from Salamiyah city.
It appears that the Syrian Army’s 333rd Regiment absorbed the main blow of the jihadist assault.
In any case, the assault by HTS was completely rebuffed by pro-government forces who also re-secured all positions they were made to ceded to jihadist militants at the start of the battle.
Whilst HTS suffered 10 confirmed casualties, that pro-government forces endured nine troops killed in action; there were also many injuries, including local NDF commander Colonel Mohammed al-Kasih who is now recovering in a military hospital.
With the arrival of day break (clashes ending at 5:00 A.M.), the Syrian Arab Air Force has since been bombing HTS positions at the town of al-Sathiyat, where the assault originated from.
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