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HTS storms homes of FSA fighters in Idlib; Russia establishes new military outposts in Hama

Editing: Amena Riyad |
TranslationEditor: Vera Halvorsen |
Translation: Maan Salti

Field and local developments:

In Northern Syria, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) gained control of a Free Police station in the village of al-Ghadfah, southern Idlib, and stormed the homes of Suqour al-Sham Brigade fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

A knowledgeable source told SMART that the HTS seized the police station’s building, the furniture inside it, and the car belonging to it, giving the police officers of the station orders to leave the premises.

Activists said that the HTS stormed the homes of three fighters of the Suqour al-Sham Brigade of the National Liberation Front (NLF). The activists did not know whether the HTS arrested the fighters or confiscated their belongings.

On Wednesday, a group of fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement located in the town of al-Tah, 44 kilometers south of Idlib, announced defecting from the movement and maintaining their posts at the frontline against the Syrian government forces in coordination with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

In Aleppo, the military police department operating in the Afrin area, northern Aleppo, arrested Ranya al-Halabi, an activist working for the League of Independent Kurds of Syria, without stating the charges.

The Manbij Military Council of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied the existence of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the city of Manbij, affirming that the YPG withdrew from the city shortly after the SDF gained control of the area.

Sharfan Darwish, the official spokesman of the Manbij Military Council, said that the Manbij area hosts only military council members, adding that the YPG withdrew from the city after expelling the Islamic State (IS).

In Central Syria, Russian forces established a new Russian military outpost in the Tal Salba area south of the town of Hayalin, 37 kilometers northwest of Hama.

Also on Wednesday, Local sources and activists told SMART that the Russian forces closed Hayalin’s entrances two days earlier, and started to establish a military outpost in the town, bringing military vehicles to the area and installing fortifications and earth mounds on the nearby Salba hill.

The Syrian government cut off water from the city of Hama due to a contamination caused by a heavy rainstorm that hit several areas in Syria, flooding the city’s sewage system and contaminating the water reserve, according to local activists.

In Northeastern Syria, a landslide destroyed a street and damaged a number of houses in the city of Ras al-Ayn, 71 kilometers north of al-Hasakah.

The People's Municipality of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration reported that an unexpected landslide caused the collapse of a street near a house and damaged houses in the neighborhood of Ronahi without causing injuries.

Also on Wednesday, floods caused by heavy rain prevented people from providing a livelihood in the al-Hasakah governorate. The floods also destroyed crops in the governorate.

Local sources told SMART that the floods blocked main roads, including the road between the village of Tal Habash and the city of Amuda, the Arab Kand road, and several others.

International and political developments:

Thick snow prevented Syrian refugees in the Arsal area, northeastern Lebanon, from reaching medical centers.

Dr. Bassam Qulayh, the manager of the al-Rahmah Hospital of the Arsal Medical Compound, told SMART that the snow was 35 centimeters deep, making it difficult for patients to reach the hospital, especially at night.