On September 25 and 26, helicopters of the Syrian Air Force carried out a series of strikes on positions of radical militants in northern Lattakia. According to local sources, the strikes targeted the area surrounding the town of Kbani killing several militants and destroying at least one of their fortified positions.
Earlier in September, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham deployed a large batch of reinforcements, including military equipment, to the area. Pro-government sources say that this may indicate that the terrorist group is preparing for offensive actions in the area.
The situation at the contact line in southern Idlib remains relatively calm. This sets conditions for the return of civilians to the areas recently liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). Just recently, a few hundreds of civilians returned to Khan Shaykhun.
At the same time, SAA units are undertaking active efforts to secure northern Hama and southern Idlib. Over the past weeks, the SAA has uncovered several weapons depots abandoned by militants.
On September 24, Israel’s ImageSat Intl. released a new series of photos showing the supposed ‘Iranian base under construction’ near al-Bukamal. The satellite image show that despite repeated airstrikes supposedly carried out by Israel the military facility is about to be finalized.
On September 26, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the SAA carried out a “chlorine attack” in northern Lattakia in May.
“The Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Pompeo said. “Today I am announcing that the United States has concluded that the Assad regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon on May 19.”
The supposed May 19 chemical attack was first announced by al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. However, according to the terrorist group, nobody was killed or injured in the incident. Later, pro-opposition sources claimed that 4 members of another al-Qaeda-linked group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, suffered from suffocation when the Syrian military struck a cave in which they were hiding. Both versions were not supported by any evidence.
Probably, Washington investigators had waited for some response to data requests that they sent to the internationally recognized terrorist groups.