first published on November 15, 2017 by Sean
Drone footage captures the SAA targeting alleged Hayat Tahrir al-Sham HTS positions northeast of Hama, Syria. With the Islamic State on the ropes in the east, the SAA is beginning to divert resources towards the HTS (Al-Qaeda) threat in rebel controlled Idlib province.
A spotter drone corrects impacts for a SAA multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), cannon, and heavy mortars prior to an SAA armored attack. The purported operation recently taking place in the rural region northeast of the SAA controlled city of Hama. Softening the target with a bombardment of heavy weapons first, the SAA unit advances with several technicals and at least one tank. Advancing towards the enemy controlled town under the watchful eye of the spotter drone, the tank begins engaging HTS occupied positions with its main gun.
As the SAA continues to consolidate gains throughout Syria, largely defeating ISIS and liberating much of the country in the past few months. They are now able to focus more attention and resources on the less notorious, though still dangerous groups like the HTS. HTS controls only small areas of Syria, but has begun to fill the very large power vacuum for Sunni discontentment under the Shia lead SAA. Additionally, HTS is rumored to receive material support from Turkey and is benefitting from recent Turkish interventions and “de-escalation” operations in Syria. Moving forward, the SAA may find offensive operations against HTS increasingly difficult, requiring far more blood and treasure than its previous few years fight against ISIS.