On April 20, government forces, led by the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces and 5th Legion, entered the strategic militant-held town of Taibat al-Imam and pushed members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and allied militant groups to withdraw from the town.
Later at the same day, HTS, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Izza deployed reinforcements and launched a major counter-attack on the recently liberated town. Clashes were ongoing in the town during the night.
By the April 21 morning, the Tiger Forces and the 5th Legion regained the initiative once again pushing militants from the town. HTS field commander, Abu Ali Shahoud, and a number of HTS and Ahrar al-Sham militants were reportedly killed in the clashes.
مقتل الفطيس الميداني في هيئة تحرير الشام المدعو “شحود ابوعلي مقبلا” في اشتباكات مع الجيش العربي السوري على جبهة بلدة طيبة الإمام pic.twitter.com/SzQFEMGvS7
— Hassan Ridha (@sayed_ridha) April 21, 2017
Following the militants’ retreat, government troops made an effort to secure Taibat al-Imam from further militant counter-attacks.
Meanwhile, heavy artillery strikes and airstrikes continued hitting militant positions across the northern Hama countryside.
Yesterday, reports appeared that the 5th Corps were opening a HQ in the northern Hama countryside, preparing for further operations in the area.
As soon as Taibat al-Imam is fully secured, government forces will likely continue the advance in the northern Hama countryside, aiming to regain Halfaya and the nearby villages.