On March 11, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled positions of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the outskirts of the town of al-Atarib in the western Aleppo countryside, a part of the Greater Idlib region, with heavy mortars.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the shelling killed a militant of HTS and wounded several other people.
The mortar attack came following shelling by HTS on the SAA’s 46th Regiment base in the western Aleppo countryside. A large force from the army and its allies, including Lebanese Hezbollah, is known to be deployed at the base.
HTS escalated attacks against the SAA and its allies last December in an apparent response to Russian efforts to restore ties between Ankara, who maintains forces in Greater Idlib, and Damascus.
In February, HTS militants raided two positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on Taurus mountain in the northern Lattakia countryside and near the town of Urum al-Sughra in the western countryside of Aleppo. The terrorist group alleged that 16 soldiers were killed in both attacks.
Early on in March, a drone attack that targeted the government-held village of Shathah in the northwestern countryside of Hama was blamed on the group.
Despite all recent violations, the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than two years ago, is still holding up. The SAA and its allies will not likely resume ground operations in order to facilitate the Turkish-Syrian normalization process. Damascus wants to neutralize HTS and other terrorist groups in the region in coordination with Ankara.
Source: South Front