By Ahmet Karaahmet and Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu
IDLIB, Syria (AA) – The Syrian National Army on Thursday thwarted an infiltration attempt by Russian special forces and Bashar al-Assad regime forces on frontlines south of Idlib, Syria.
The forces carried out a late-night operation to infiltrate the Syrian National Army’s positions in the countryside of Hama, according to sources in the Syrian National Army.
In response to the infiltration attempt, Syrian National Army carried out artillery and rocket attacks on the regime positions in Fattira village in the countryside of Hama.
The regime forces, which suffered heavy losses, had to retreat after the Syrian National Army retaliated. The sources said some Russian soldiers were also wounded.
The Russian forces had also attempted a similar attack on Jan. 11, using unmanned aerial vehicles, followed by illuminating bombs, according to the sources.
In May 2017, four de-escalation zones were designated in Idlib and some regions in neighboring provinces Latakia, Hama and Aleppo as well as northern parts of Homs province, Eastern Ghouta region in the capital Damascus, Daraa and Quneitra cities by Turkey, Russia and Iran in talks held in Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan, also known as the Astana process.
However, the regime and Iran-backed terrorists captured three of the four regions and headed towards Idlib. Talks between Ankara and Moscow were held in Sochi, Russia in September 2018 to consolidate the cease-fire agreement.
However, the regime forces began military operations to seize the entire region in May 2019 and captured several large residential areas within the Idlib de-escalation zone.
On March 5, Turkey and Russia held talks in Moscow and reached a new agreement.
The cease-fire, which the regime forces have since occasionally violated, is largely intact. Since 2017, nearly 2 million civilians were forced to migrate to regions close to the Turkish border due to attacks by the regime forces.