The Islamist rebels from Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate) launched a massive offensive on Sunday to capture several sites along the strategic Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway) that ultimately flows into the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate.

Initially, the Islamist rebels of Jund Al-Aqsa were rather successful, despite sustaining heavy causalities and a severe loss of military equipment; this assault allowed them take full control of Masasineh, Zaylan, Al-Buwaydah, and a number of checkpoints along the road to the nearby town of Souran.

Not long after Jund Al-Aqsa captured the village of Al-Buwaydah, a large convoy of reinforcements from the Syrian government stronghold of Mhardeh arrived to help the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division recapture their lost points in northern Hama.

These reinforcements from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) of Mhardeh proved imperative for the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade’s counter-offensive, as they were able to recapture the village of Al-Buwaydah and part of Masasineh before nightfall on Sunday night.

The following morning, the Syrian Armed Forces put an end to the Jund Al-Aqsa offensive in northern Hama after they recaptured all of the points they lost to the aforementioned Islamist group.

In addition to their successful counter-assault, the Syrian Armed Forces also captured a small hilltop near the targeted town of Souran; this successful operation meant that the Islamist rebels ended up losing more land than they previously gained.

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