Gunmen affiliated with the Ansar al-Tawhid faction launched a severe assault on Syrian army positions in the southern Idleb countryside on Saturday. Reports from Athr Press sources in Idleb confirmed that the armed factions initiated the attack by detonating a tunnel near al-Malaja town, south of Idleb. This was followed by an offensive against army positions in the Hazarin area, resulting in the unfortunate loss of seven Syrian army members.
The confrontation escalated into intense clashes between the opposing sides, characterized by heavy artillery exchanges and missile bombardments. The Syrian army responded by targeting the militants’ supply routes within the region.
A field informant informed Athr Press that the Syrian army had consolidated its defensive stance around Hazarin town. With the arrival of military reinforcements, the army launched a counteroffensive against the positions the militants had advanced to, successfully regaining control.
Subsequently, the armed factions retreated towards Kansafra and Safohen towns. In response, joint Syrian-Russian airstrikes targeted their locations within these towns, resulting in the destruction of three of their command centers.
According to local sources, 18 members of the armed factions, primarily comprising foreign and East Asian nationals, were killed during the engagement, while several others sustained injuries.
This incident marks the most severe attack carried out by the armed factions in the past three years, following the Syrian army’s establishment of control over the Aleppo-Damascus road. This control was particularly extended to areas such as Saraqeb and Maarat al-Numan.
The Ansar al-Tawhid faction is comprised of multiple militants, predominantly originating from foreign and East Asian nations, who have participated in conflicts across Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these individuals have affiliations with al-Qaeda and ISIS. After relocating from Raqqa and Iraq, they received both logistical and military support from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies). This support drew them to the areas under its influence within the Idleb countryside.
In recent times, armed factions in Idleb have escalated attacks on civilian villages and Syrian army positions. One notable incident occurred on August 6th when the Turkistan Islamic Party targeted the Nabi Yunus summit in the northern Latakia countryside. This resulted in fierce clashes between the Syrian army and the militants, as the latter attempted to infiltrate Syrian army positions.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.