The coalition of Islamist factions in northern Syria – “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) – have begun to shell the strategic towns of Morek and ‘Atshan in the Hama Governorate’s northern countryside after a successful week that included the capture of Sukeek, Markabah, and Lahaya from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF).

With the aforementioned towns under their control, Jaysh Al-Fateh – led by Ajnad Al-Sham and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham – have switched their focus to the imperative town of Morek that is located along the vast Aleppo-Damascus International Highway; this town was recently cleared by the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah during a ground operation earlier this week.

If the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Fateh can capture Morek from the pro-government forces, they will be in a prime position to launch an assault on the two Syrian Arab Army held towns of Souran and Taybat Al-Imam; these towns will open a pathway for the Islamist rebels to begin their large-scale offensive of Hama City.

However, this will not be an easy task for the Islamist rebels, as the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division is well-armed and supported by two of the strongest NDF units in the country (Mhardeh and Al-Sqaylabiyah NDF); moreover, the Russian Air Force can be seen patrolling the skies all day long and picking off the Islamist rebels at every opportunity.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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