The situation regarding ISIS in Hama is still evolving. As of now, the background of the whole process has become much clearer. The Daesh issued an ultimatum to “Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham” to release wounded and their family members from prisons, promising, in case of refusal to attack HTS. Earlier those detainees managed to leave the surrounded area of Akerbat.
Having escaped the encirclement reportedly with fights, ISIS terrorists immediately attacked the HTS controlled zones and seized a number of relatively large settlements as well as captured a few enemy fighters. After long and bloodshed battles HTS agreed to exchange ISIS detainees for their own people.
HTS summoned reserves and redeployed a large task force to attack positions of IS east of Hama. Daesh terrorists could not resist here as they lacked ammunition, food supplies and battle reserves were also cut off from main forces and acted autonomously. In a few weeks of fighting they retreated from previously taken settlements and lost a significant part of manpower.
In addition RuAF stepped in and commenced airstrikes on both ISIS and HTS sites. The latter were very indignant about this saying the Russian Air Force bomb HTS militants to help Daesh. RuAF however heavily pounded HTS positions 50 kilometers west – in Abu Dali.
SAA caught the moment to take the territory north of the ISIS and HTS clashes without encountering any significant resistance. Moreover regime forces previously engaged in fighting at Akerbat have to be set up on a new battleground.
According to military sources, the Syrian military command draws a new operation plan. In addition to Hama the upcoming offensive is to take place south of Aleppo. The significant forces of SAA have been concentrating there now. The objective of the operation is presumably the Abu al-Duhur military base. In future it might become a foothold for the Idlib province antiterrorist sweep off.