BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has denied entering Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib, despite some claims by both pro-opposition and pro-government activists.
According to a source in nearby Hama, there is truth to several militants withdrawing from Khan Sheikhoun; however, the hardline militants like Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham still remain inside the city.
The military spokesperson for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, Abu Khaled Al-Shami, said in a voice memo on the jihadist group’s official Telegram channel that their forces withdrew to the southern part of Khan Sheikhoun because the Syrian Arab Army captured Talat Al-Nimr, which allowed the latter to cutoff the Hama-Idlib Highway.
The HTS spokesperson added that they have not withdrawn from northern Hama and denied the reports that claimed they did.
The Syrian Arab Army has effectively cutoff the main supply route to the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate, but the militants have not been fully enveloped as of yet.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Rouse the Believers have been fending off the Syrian Army’s attack at the eastern part of this pocket; this has allowed the militants to avoid being fully besieged by the military.