FTO activities in Syria
Throughout August, low-intensity fighting was observed in a number of governorates of the country.
On August 3 in Aleppo governorate air defense systems of the Syrian army shot down five unmanned aerial vehicles trying to attack military targets north and west of Aleppo (360 km fr om Damascus). As the Al-Watan newspaper reported, the drones were launched by Ha’y’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants.
On August 25, in the west of Aleppo governorate, Syrian artillery shelled a convoy of HTS militants, killing seven of them.
On August 1, Islamic State (IS) militants attacked a convoy of oil tankers in Hama governorate, Al-Hadas TV channel reported. According to the media, at the time of the attack the convoy, accompanied by Syrian army soldiers, was moving along one of the roads in the east of Hama governorate. The attack killed seven people (five Syrian soldiers and two civilians, who were oil tanker drivers).
On August 21, Syrian army artillery attacked the positions of militant units in the north of Hama governorate. As Al-Watan newspaper reported, the shelling was carried out from heavy guns in response to militants violating the ceasefire in the northern de-escalation zone. The strikes targeted enemy command posts and rear bases in the areas of Al-Sirmaniya, Al-Ziyara and Khirbet en-Nakus in the Orontes River valley. Earlier, Syrian troops attacked outposts of the HTS group in Idlib governorate. According to the media, fortifications created by militants in Kensarf and Sufuhun in the mountainous area of Jebel ez-Zawiya were hit. The enemy suffered losses in killed and wounded.
On August 21, the air defense systems of the Syrian army shot down three UAVs used by HTS militants to attack their positions. As Al-Mayadeen TV reported, drones with explosives were spotted in the sky in the north of Hama governorate and destroyed.
On August 3, Islamic State announced that its leader Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi was killed in Idlib governorate during a clash with HTS militants. It was also announced that Abu Hafs al-Hashemi al-Qurashi became the new leader of IS.
On August 6, Syrian artillery shelled positions of the HTS group in the south of Idlib governorate. As Al-Watan newspaper reported, two terrorist leaders were killed and several more militants were injured by the strikes in the Ain Sheiba district. According to the newspaper, the attack was launched in response to repeated violations of the ceasefire by the enemy in the northern de-escalation zone.
On August 26, militants from the Islamic Party of Turkistan and Ansar al-Tawhid attacked the positions of Syrian troops in the Jisr al-Shugur district of Idlib governorate. When repelling the attack, 11 Syrian soldiers were killed and 20 were injured.
On August 5, a joint strike by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force destroyed the headquarters of the HTS group near the city of Idlib in Idlib governorate.
On August 21, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft attacked jihadist targets in Idlib governorate. In particular, the command post of the HTS organization in the village of Bekfalun (4 km southwest of the city of Idlib) was destroyed and 17 militants were eliminated, including several high-ranking field commanders responsible for organizing and carrying out recent attacks on Syrian government troops in the north of Latakia governorate.
On August 28, strikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces against HTS targets hit a defended post and two command posts used for organizing and carrying out attacks on Syrian government forces and civilian infrastructure.
On August 31, the Syrian Armed Forces, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, launched attacks on the positions of terrorists in Hama and Idlib governorates, the SAR Ministry of Defense reported. “In response to attacks carried out in recent days against the Syrian armed forces by terrorist groups in Hama and Idlib governorates, troops of the Syrian (government) forces, in cooperation with Russian aviation, launched missile and air strikes on the headquarters of these groups,” said the statement that was quoted by SANA state news agency. It was alleged that as a result of the strikes, the militants’ headquarters, along with their weapons and ammunition, were destroyed, and “dozens of terrorists were killed and injured.” The identities of the five eliminated militants have been established.
On August 6, HTS militants shelled the positions of Syrian troops in the north of the region in the governorate of Latakia. This was reported by Asharq News TV channel broadcasting from Dubai. According to their information, six Syrian troops were killed in the shelling, including two officers, as well as two civilians. Syrian artillery struck back at the Nahiya area in western Idlib governorate, wh ere the fire came fr om.
On August 7, IS militants attacked a government checkpoint in Raqqa governorate. As a result of the attack, ten soldiers were killed.
On August 17, the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the elimination of one of the significant IS leaders in Raqqa. According to the SDF statement quoted by the Kurdish agency Hawar, “fighters of the SDF counter-terrorism units, in cooperation with the forces of the international coalition and the Anti-Terrorist Service of Iraqi Kurdistan (an autonomous region in northern Iraq), carried out a special operation in the center of Raqqa,” eliminating one of the key leaders of the Islamic State named Ibrahim al-Ali (nom de guerre Abu Mujahid).
On August 11, IS militants attacked Syrian government troops in Deir ez-Zor governorate. At least 33 soldiers were killed, Sky News Arabia reports. According to the media, a bus carrying military personnel was attacked. Besides, several servicemen were captured. Immediately, the command of the Syrian Armed Forces sent special forces units to Deir ez-Zor governorate to conduct an anti-terrorist operation against IS militants, Al-Hadas TV channel reported. According to them, the army was supported by pro-Iranian troops consisting of Shia militias who arrived from the Albu Kamal district. Syrian Air Force helicopters took part in the pursuit of the terrorists.
On August 17, it became known that the command of the Syrian army sent additional military units to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor governorates. This was reported by the Al-Watan newspaper, citing a source. According to the media, reinforcements were pulled into the desert areas of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, wh ere an increase in the activities of IS militants was recently observed.
On August 15, IS militants attacked an ammunition depot of pro-government forces in Homs governorate near Palmyra. When repelling the attack, three soldiers were killed, eight were injured.
On August 29, Kurdish SDF forces carried out an operation to eliminate IS militants in the governorates of Hasakah, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, as SDF official spokesman Farhad Shami told Firat news agency. According to him, during the sweeping of the Khashman and Al-Aziziya districts by Kurdish troops, 13 IS supporters were detained. Five of them turned out to be field commanders from among foreign mercenaries.