DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:15 P.M.) – On Monday afternoon, a lone jihadist suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with explosives towards the government-held village of Abu Lefah in northeastern Hama, looking to take out two armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that were spotted by a drone flying above.
According to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a BMP-1 and a T-72 tank were destroyed as the HTS suicide bomber reached SAA positions in the frontier village although this claim could not be independently verified by field sources close to Al-Masdar News.
Footage of the operation can be found below:
The suicide bombing was followed up by a HTS ground offensive shortly after; however, a military source stationed near the M42 Highway informed Al-Masdar News that government forces had repelled all follow-up attacks by the Al-Qaeda affiliated faction.
The source added that the SAA had inflicted heavy casualties upon HTS militants today and stressed that government forces had turned the tables on HTS and were probing the jihadist defensive line to break through potential weak points.
On the other hand, Jaish Al-Izza (Free Syrian Army faction) claimed in an online bulletin that the SAA had sustained 20 casualties on Monday alone and added that their fighters had captured a T-55 tank during the latest round of clashes. Failaq Al-Sham also released photos from the region today, suggesting at least two rebel factions to be assisting HTS.
In a separate yet related event, HTS also claimed to have destroyed a SAA tank in the nearby village of Jubb Al-Abyad earlier today.
Jubb Al-Abyad and Abu Lefah were captured by the SAA amid a surprise offensive that began last week. An interactive map depicting the current frontline situation in northeastern Hama can be found here.