Syrian army forces recapture villages on northern edge of Hama

Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have managed to establish control over several villages in the country’s western-central province of Hama following intense clashes with members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network reported Syrian forces had secured the villages of al-Humayrat, al-Hardana, al-Qaroutiyah, Qirata, al-Hawash and Tal Hawash, which lie in the Suqaylabiyah and Salamiyah districts of the province, killing and injuring scores of the Takfiris.

Syrian soldiers and their allies are now clearing out the areas of hundreds of mines and explosive devices left behind by the terrorists.

Meanwhile, Syrian army troops have pounded and destroyed the rocket launch pads for Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorists on the outskirts of Sahab and Koura villages with a barrage of artillery rounds.

Syrian army forces enter the town of Kafr Nabuda, located about 40 kilometers north of Hama, on May 11, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Separately, Syrian government forces have targeted terrorist gatherings and fortifications in the village of Safouhan and Khan Shaykhun town in the southern countryside of Idlib. A large number of foreign-backed extremists were killed and injured in the process.

Under a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on September 17, 2018, all militants in a demilitarized zone, which surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, and Takfiri groups had to withdraw by October 15 last year.

The National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant alliance in the Idlib region, but the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, which is a coalition of different terror outfits, largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

The HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib province, has yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 members of different factions of armed groups, which Syria, Russia and Turkey consider terrorists, are active in the volatile province, which is home to around three million inhabitants.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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