DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:05 P.M.) –The Tiger Forces lived up to their fearsome reputation today after they not only retook the imperative town of Taibat Al-Imam earlier today but also advanced west of it and secured a tiny buffer-zone around the former Islamist bastion.
In the persistent push towards Halfaya, shock troops of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – supported by the 47th Brigade and 87th Brigade of the 4th Division – took control of the Al-Sammam checkpoint as Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and its allies withdrew from the area under a hail of Russian airstrikes on Thursday afternoon.
However, HTS launched a counter-attack on Taibat Al-Imam moments ago, claiming to have destroyed a SAA tank and captured another one near the Al-Sammam checkpoint. Nevertheless, an Al-Masdar News source said rebel forces had not re-entered Taibat Al-Imam.
At least 12,000 SAA soldiers and pro-government paramilitary fighters are stationed in northern Hama, outnumbering jihadist belligerents about two-to-one.
Next up, commander-in-chief Suheil Al-Hassan is expected to order the SAA to surround the nearby rebel-held town of Halfaya and push northwards along the M5-highway, not only safeguarding Hama province but also reaching rebel heartland of Idlib in the process.
Pictures of the SAA inside Taibat Al-Imam today:
An HD map of northern Hama can be found here.