BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army scored (SAA) momentous gains on Friday morning, seizing the villages of Khattab, Zawr Al-Maslaq, Zawr Al-Jadeed, Soubein, Al-Majdal, and Al-Shayr on the outskirts of Hama city following a massive blitz offensive.
Led by contingents of the 5th Legion and Tiger Forces, government forces then attacked the Abu Ubaydah and Al-Shliout checkpoints directly north of Mhardeh beginning at noon in a concentric push to safeguard the predominately Christian city.
With heavy clashes ongoing as we speak, the SAA is systematically rolling back a vulnerable Islamist salient in rural Hama with overwhelming firepower. The Russian Airforce is highly active in the region, denying insurgents maneuverability between towns under their control.
Despite Syrian government troops averting a looming assault on the cities of Hama and Mhardeh, the SAA is expected to intensify its Hama counter-insurgency operations, ultimately looking to retake the imperative towns of Souran, Taibat Al-Imam and Halfaya.
Should the aforementioned towns fall into government hands, the SAA could initiate its long-awaited Idlib offensive in a bid to prevent future jihadist offensives in the Hama governorate.
Click here for a HD map of Hama.