On Saturday evening, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defence Forces (NDF) reversed all gains conducted by the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) “Jaysh Al-Izza” rebel group in the countryside of northwestern Hama.
In an unexpected rebel offensive from Saturday morning until noon, the FSA took control of the Shelot checkpoint and the village of Abu Obeidah. The advance was critical as it left rebel forces overlooking Mahardeh, a densely populated government-held Christian town.
The FSA also heavily shelled the adjacent Al-Malh hill but were unable to overrun it.
Fortunately for the SAA and NDF, their forces were able to swarm the aforementioned sites prior to the FSA fortifying them. During a fierce battle which lasted several hours, government troops called upon airstrikes, artillery support and armoured vehicles to drive back the FSA. Due to the bombardment, rebel fighters withdrew to the town of Al-Lataminah.
A military source in the Hama governorate informed Al-Masdar News that at least 20 militants were killed during the clashes. Furthermore, the SAA seized a tank abandoned by the FSA.
The SAA maintains the initiative in Hama after capturing the imperative town of Souran and over a dozen villages since early October.