Early on April 14, militants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the Greater Idlib region, raided a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) near the town of Sirmaniyah in the northwestern Hama countryside.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that heavy clashes broke out around Sirmaniyah during the raid. According to the London-based pro-opposition monitoring group, HTS militants killed two soldiers before retreating from the position. Several other soldiers were allegedly wounded.
In a separate attack, a soldier of the SAA was killed and two others were wounded by sniper fire near the 46 Regiments base in the western Aleppo countryside. HTS was reportedly behind the attack.
HTS and its allies launched dozens of attacks from Greater Idlib in the last few months in a violation of a ceasefire that was brokered by Russia and Turkey.
Earlier this week, the SAA repelled an attack on its positions in the southern countryside of Idlib. The attack was carried out by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a Ugur al-Qaeda group that is allied with HTS. Three militants were killed in the failed attack.
The escalation by Greater Idlib militants appears to be an attempt to sabotage ongoing efforts to restore Syria’s relations with other Arab states and Turkey.