Early on April 1, heavy clashes broke out between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the western countryside of Syria’s Aleppo.
The clashes took place in the outskirts of the 46th Regiments base and the nearby town of Kafr Amma. News sources affiliated to HTS reported that clashes began when the SAA launched an attack at the Greater Idlib region. However, the Syrian Ministry of Defense didn’t report any such action.
In a report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based pro-opposition monitoring group, said that five soldiers of the SAA were killed and two others were wounded during the clashes. Three militants of HTS were also wounded, according to the unverified report.
Over the last ten days, HTS militants launched four attacks from Greater Idlib. The targets were military positions in the western Aleppo countryside and the southern countryside of Idlib. All attacks were foiled by the SAA.
The recent attacks were a violation of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than two years ago.
HTS’s attempts to destabilize Greater Idlib are meant to sabotage ongoing Russian efforts to restore ties between Ankara and Damascus. The terrorist group fears that Ankara could withdraw its forces from the region to facilitate the normalization process, which would leave the door wide open for the SAA and its allies to resume large-scale ground operations.