Yesterday, Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) launched a wide-scale offensive in the Hama Governorate’s northern countryside in order to seize several points that were under the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) control along the strategic Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway).

Initially, the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Fateh – led by Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Faylaq Al-Sham (Sham Legion) – seized the imperative village of Al-Buwaydah, along with the Lahaya and Markabah checkpoints after a series of firefights with the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division and the National Defense Forces (NDF).

As the Islamist rebels pushed further south, they found themselves overstretched and outnumbered by the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces near the villages of Halfaya and Taybat Al-Imam; this resulted in Syrian Armed Forces launching a counter-attack to recapture these integral points from Jaysh Al-Fateh last night and this morning.

According to a battlefield reporter in the village of Mhardeh, the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade and the National Defense Forces (Suqaylabiyah and Mhardeh brigades) recaptured Al-Buwaydah and several checkpoints surrounding the village this morning, resulting in a significant number of casualties for the Islamist rebels.

The source further added that the Jaysh Al-Fateh assault on the predominately Alawi village of Ma’an was also repelled by the Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Forces – he added that 14 enemy combatants were killed in the process.

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