IDLIB, Syria — On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Islamist faction Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) claimed the group had killed 10 Russian soldiers near Kafr Nabl in the south of Syria’s Idlib Province during recent clashes.
The spokesperson said that HTS had foiled an infiltration attempt by the Russian forces after the latter had entered a minefield prepared by HTS to prevent such attempts.
No comment has been made on the claims by the Russian nor Syrian officials.
It seems that this time claims of a 🇷🇺 soldier killed in #Idlib were accurate. HTS recovered kit left behind from what seems to be Russian SOF w/ MUM-14 & MN-120 NVGs, CORE Hel-Star strobe, FAST-style helmet, etc. (Kit ID @AbraxasSpa) after a regime probe hit mines in #KafrNabel pic.twitter.com/RSVwTyFyRU
— Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ (@CalibreObscura) September 22, 2020
The HTS claims of Russian casualties come after a clear escalation of military operations by both sides of the conflict in Idlib.
Russian warplanes have intensified their raids in the region recently, targeting positions of HTS and Al-Fateh al-Mouben in response to the sporadic targeting of Russian and Syrian regime with artillery, mortars, and small arms fire.
HTS maintains control of large areas of Idlib and has seized the vacant properties of displaced people from the province.
The latest wave of seizures included the homes of civilians claimed by HTS of belonging to pro-regime political parties, harboring loyalist sentiments, or having family members fighting in the ranks of the regime.
The campaign targeted dozens of towns, including Barisha, Kafardrian, and Termanin, and resulted in the theft of about 500 houses.