HTS claims attack against Syrian regime soldiers in Latakia province
An attack claimed by a hardline Islamist rebel group in northwest Syria left a number of regime soldiers killed and wounded on Saturday.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants attacked regime check points in the Latakia governorate’s Jabal al-Akrad area.
The number of casualties among regime forces was not made clear.
"The fighters of the special forces in the Uthman bin Affan Brigade, affiliated with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, carried out an operation against…the [Bashar] Assad forces in the Tal al-Burkan axis in the Jabal al-Akrad area in the northeastern countryside of Latakia," the group’s media agency Amjad said.
Regime forces retaliated by targeting HTS in several towns with heavy artillery and missiles in the Latakia, Hama and Idlib provinces.
It was not clear if the bombardment resulted in casualties.
"[HTS] is creating a situation where Turkey - and by extension the whole outside world - cannot operate in Northern Syria without dealing with HTS."— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 30, 2022
Will Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham reshape Syria's north?⬇ https://t.co/67gdlOiW14
The hardline Islamist group announced last month that Syrian rebel factions had launched 13 operations against the regime since October last year in northwestern Syria, according to The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
More than half a million people are believed to have been killed in the nearly 12-year Syrian conflict, and half of Syria’s pre-war population has been displaced.
HTS, which is sanctioned by the UN as a terrorist organisation, formally broke ties with Al-Qaeda in 2016 and incorporated a number of smaller Syrian rebel factions in a major re-branding effort.
Widely seen as the strongest and best organised group in the Idlib province, it has tried to present itself as a mainstay of Syria's opposition.
It controls about half of the Idlib province and other surrounding areas alongside other Turkish-backed rebel factions.