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In Greater Idlib, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its Russian support are back to punishing the so-called “moderate opposition” for their continuous ceasefire violations.
On August 5th, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) renewed its operations against militants in the northwestern region.
A series of Russian air strikes targeted militants’ positions around the town of al-Bara in the southern Idlib countryside as well as in the surroundings of the town of Kabani in the northern countryside of Lattakia.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, maintains a strong presence in both towns.
The VKS’ airstrikes took place alongside heavy shelling by the SAA on militant positions in different parts of Grater Idlib.
Additionally, SAA snipers are on the hunt.
They fatally shot two militants in the al-Zawiya Mountain area in the countryside of southern Idlib.
Both were identified as special forces fighters in HTS’ Abu Baker al-Siddiq Brigade.
The Turkish-backed groups in Greater Idlib and the Aleppo countryside are also locked in a near-constant exchange of fire with the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On August 5th, two civilians were killed when Kurdish fighters targeted their lift truck near the Turkish-occupied Syrian town of Hazwan in the northern Aleppo countryside with an anti-tank guided missile.
Kurdish fighters also destroyed an ambulance of the Western-backed White Helmets civil defense organization that was dispatched to the scene.
The ambulance was also targeted with an ATGM.
A member of the White Helmets was killed.
These attacks by the SDF were likely a response to vicious shelling by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed factions on the Raqqah countryside a day earlier.
These incidents and others originating from Greater Idlib are quite common.
HTS and the other militant groups in the region regularly violate the ceasefire agreement.
Most recently, Horas al-Din, one of the terrorist factions even carried out an attack in Damascus.
The HTS-led groups have ramped up their attacks in recent days in support of Daraa’s former rebels who refuse to conclude an agreement with the Syrian government and continue to clash with the SAA.
Earlier on August 5, unidentified gunmen ambushed a car carrying service members of the SAA in the eastern countryside of Daraa.
Two service members were reportedly killed and three others were wounded in the attack.
The ambush came as negotiations between Syrian authorities and local leaders in Daraa al-Balad, the southern part of Daraa city, are facing some serious setbacks.
Daraa al-Balad leaders are still refusing the demands set by Syrian authorities, which include the deployment of SAA units to the area and the deportation of all wanted gunmen.
This defiant stand could force the authorities to implement a military solution.
Moscow is attempting to mediate the negotiations, but with little success.