HTS claims attack against Syrian regime soldiers in Latakia province

HTS claims attack against Syrian regime soldiers in Latakia province
Another attack by hardline Islamist rebels has left an unidentified number of Syrian regime soldiers killed.
2 min read
04 February, 2023
HTS - which controls most of Idlib - has claimed several attacks against the Syrian regime in recent months [Getty/archive]

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.

Several Syrian regime soldiers have been killed and wounded in similar attacks by the HTS in recent months.

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.