Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Hama Governor refutes massacre reports in northern countryside

Local | 2017-03-23 02:10:16
Hama Governor refutes massacre reports in northern countryside
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Hama Governor on Wednesday has refuted pro-regime media reports over a massacre committed by rebels in the northern countryside of the central province.

Mohaled Hazzouri told Damascus-based Sham FM radio that reports of killing 25 civilians by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the former al-Qaeda group, is not correct.

Russian Sputnik news site has also circulated the news of the massacre.

Opposition activists said the governor may face regime reprisals over his statement.

Meanwhile, rebels pressed new advance into the strategic Hama military airport after surprise offensive launched on Tuesday allowed them to take remarkable territory in the northern countryside of the central province, activists said.

The attack is being led by Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of Islamist factions dominated by a group that was formerly al Qaeda's official affiliate in the Syrian war. Groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner are also taking part.

Hama attack has accompanied with another major attack east of Damascus, such a move by rebels has rocked the morale of both army and loyalists who thought 'the war is over'.

 On Wednesday,  the regime army has sent reinforcements to Hama province since the area is critically important to Bashar Assad and his fellow Alawite-sect supporters.

The assault was spearheaded by two big attacks on Assad's seat of power in Damascus in recent days, showing the lingering threat posed by rebels even as Assad enjoys the military upper hand in the war.

The areas of Hama province targeted in the latest assault form part of the western region of Syria where Assad has shored up his rule during the six-year-long conflict against an array of insurgents seeking to topple him.

The military source said insurgent groups had mobilized large numbers for the assault that was targeting towns including Soran, some 20 km (12 miles) north of Hama city, and Khattab, about 10 km northwest of it.

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