DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:45 P.MP) – A coalition of jihadi groups has overrun the government forces in the northern countryside of Hama, making huge gains and posing a serious threat for the provincial capital
Led by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – formerly known as Jabhet al-Nusra, the ultraconservative militants launched their full-scale offensive yesterday on several positions for the Syrian Army and local fighters.
The 24-hour battle has yielded well for the jihadists as they managed to take over several towns and villages including Soran and Khattab.
Hours earlier, the media wing of HTS reported that its fighters stormed Ma’ardis after a suicide bomber detonated his BVIED inside the village.
Scores of government troops – including officers – have been reported dead during the battles.
The insurgents expanded their assault and attacked the predominantly-Christian city of Mahardah, shelling it with mortar shells and homegrown rockets and cutting off the road linking it to the provincial capital.
Reports came in that jihadi rebels massacred up to 30 civilians – mostly women and children – in the Alawite-populated village of Majdal.
In May 2016, insurgents killed 19 civilians after capturing the predominantly-Alwaite village of al-Zara located in the western countryside of Homs.