Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has cut a deal with Bashar al-Assad’s regime to exchange thousands of residents in Kefraya and al-Fouah, two predominately Shiite towns in the northern province of Idlib, for 1,500 prisoners held in Assad’s prisons.
The US says that Russian forces struck and wounded several fighters belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The incident highlights the fact that despite “de-confliction,” the US and Russia are often not on the same page in Syria.
Israel struck a suspected chemical weapons facility near Masyaf, Syria earlier today. The facility may have been run by the Syrian regime’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which has been sanctioned by the US government for its role in producing chemical weapons and the means to deploy them.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that 352 men from the Syrian Army and allied Shiite militias were killed during four days of fighting in and around Palmyra. In addition, the group claims to have recovered a significant amount of “spoils,” namely tanks and various weapons. A video recorded inside a base formerly used by Russians documents some of this war booty.
Russia initially denied that a helicopter was downed east of Palmyra, Syria. After the Islamic State posted a video of the attack, the Russians conceded that two pilots were killed when the chopper was struck by Islamic State terrorists. Russian propaganda has blamed an American-made TOW missile for bringing down the helicopter, but the video seems to show anti-aircraft fire hitting the tail rotor of the chopper.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that three Russian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Syria. The claim could not be immediately verified. In recent days, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian axis has suffered setbacks along the same road where the Russians were allegedly killed. [Update: A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman subsequently denied Amaq’s claim.]
On May 6, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps lost the strategic village of Khan Touman to Jaysh al Fath, suffering its worse defeat yet in the Syrian war. Iranian officials and commanders alongside state outlets have publicly downplayed the loss and have vowed revenge to retake the town. They also level accusations that the West and its regional allies support “terrorists” who take advantage of ceasefires.