Syrian army losing ground to Islamists in Hama

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Syrian army troops are seen during clashes with rebel fighters in Homs. File photo

ARA News

HAMA – Subsequent to fierce battles with the pro-regime army forces, Syrian Islamist rebel groups on Monday captured strategic positions in Syria’s central province of Hama.

Islamist groups attacked the pro-regime forces with artillery shelling and rockets, killing and wounding dozens of soldiers, according to local activists. 

Speaking to ARA News in Hama, media activist Abdul Rahman Taha said that fighters from the Islamic Party of Turkestan and Jund al-Aqsa rebel groups continued their progress at the expense of the Syrian army forces and were able to take over the tanks hill near the Jorin military camp subsequent to fierce battles clashes.

“Islamist rebels were able to kill dozens of the regime’s army troops and wound many others,” Taha said, pointing out that Islamist rebels seized two tanks [T 72] and destroyed a machine gun [caliber 23] belonging to the Syrian army. 

The source emphasized that the Syrian army responded to the attack with several rockets on the rebels’ headquarters inside the towns of Tel Wasit and Mansoura.

ARA News could not verify the death toll in the ranks of the rebels.

A rebel spokesman reported that similar clashes broke out between the two sides in the vicinity of the town of al-Hakura, coinciding with aerial bombardment by pro-Assad warplanes on the Khirbat an-Noqus town and the vicinity of al-Hakura and Mansoura towns. 

In the meantime, the villages loyal to president Bashar al-Assad in western Hama witnessed the displacement of dozens of civilians, especially after the advance of Islamists, according to local activists.

Islamist rebel factions launched on Monday a new battle to break into the pro-regime forces’ positions in the plain of al-Ghab and in the western suburbs of Hama, taking over the town of Khirbet an-Naqus. 

Over the past few months, Syrian Islamist rebels led by the Conquest Army group were able to capture a number of villages and towns in the al-Ghab plain, especially after taking over the cities of Idlib and Jisr al-Shughur from pro-Assad forces in northwestern Syria.

Reporting by: Taim Khalil

Source: ARA News

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