DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9: 00) – The Syrian government forces, backed by Russian allies, resume its large-scale offensive against the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Hama.

The military operation, which began last Wednesday with the support of local fighters and Russian forces, aims at seizing the ISIS stronghold of Aqirbat; which serves as the launch pad for the group’s deadly attacks on Salamiyah.

According to military source, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets conducted more than 30 airstrikes against ISIS positions, in parallel with heavy artillery and missile shelling.

A wide-scale ground invasion will be soon launched, according to the same source.

Scores of civilians – including women and children – have been brutally massacred in villages outside Salamiyah city due to several deadly attacks by the Islamic State jihadists.

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