Erbil, Kurdistan Region –Local sources reported Saturday that subsequent to clashes with pro-regime military forces, militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) were able to take control of the villages of al-Hanita and Sheikh Hilal near the city of Salamiya in the northeastern countryside of the province of Hamah in central Syria, .
The clashes caused blockage of the road of Salamiya-Aleppo for days.
“The two villages were under the control of pro-regime Popular Defense Committees and allied Shiite militias. The IS group tried to control the highway of Salamiya-Raqqa,” an activist told ARA News on the condition of anonymity.
The source pointed out that the IS militants took control of the Syrian regime battalions of Zor as-Sous and al-Kafat near Salamiya, killing more than 60 pro-Assad gunmen as well as seizing a great deal of weapons after two suicide attacks.
Speaking to ARA News in Salamiya, civil rights activist Yusuf al-Bakri said that Salamiya’s National Hospital received 16 dead of the regime’s forces, including commanding officers who were killed in the clashes of Sheikh Hilal.
On the other hand, Tayseer Hassan, a dissident from the Syrian regime army, confirmed that units of the Syrian army in Hamah cut off the highway of Salamiya-Athraya which leads to the city of Aleppo, following fierce clashes between the army forces and the IS group near Sheikh Hilal.
“The Syrian Arab Army was able to regain many strategic points in the area within 60 minutes and re-open the way for passengers from and to the city of Aleppo,” Hassan told ARA News.
The city of Salamiya is about 33km away from Hamah to the northeast and it is under the regime’s control. Since nearly a year ago, the Syrian army has withdrawn from the checkpoints of the city as well as from the eastern countryside, but the area has remained under the control of the pro-regime National Defense Army and Popular Defense Committees’ militias.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yusuf
Source: ARA News
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