By Naveed Malekafzali (Twitter)
Hama - After nearly half a year of silence alongside the frontlines of the rebels and the Syrian government in northern Syria, Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham (HTS) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) have launched an offensive in the northern Hama countryside.
The offensive began at 9 AM this morning with HTS/TIP fighters attacking positions just northwest of the village of Ma'an, near Ti'an. Government forces were able to quickly repel said attack within the hour. In response to these attacks, Russian and Syrian Air Force planes began airstrikes on rebel-held villages near the frontlines, with airstrikes hitting the villages of Murak and al-Lataminah in Hama. Multiple airstrikes and cluster bombs also hit multiple towns in Idlib, hospitals being specifically targeted in al-Tamani'ah, Kafr Nabl, and Khan Shaykhun, the site of this year's chemical attack that sparked US President Trump's bombing of the Syrian government's Shayrat Airbase. Four people have thus far been confirmed killed in the bombing, with two injured., though the numbers are expected to rise.
After the round of airstrikes, HTS renewed their offensive on Ma'an with an SVBIED strike on their positions at the northern entrance of the village, killing and wounding many government fighters. While pro-government outlets reported that the attack had been repelled within the hour, pro-rebel activists reported that Ma'an itself had captured by the rebels. No pictures or video has been released from Ma'an as of yet so these reports could not be verified.
Following this attack, rebels were able to capture the village of Wadi Ma'arran, west of Ma'an, where they burned pictures of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as the flag of the ruling government as they overran government forces' positions.