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Syrian rebels take strategic hilltop from Assad forces in Hama: activists

Local | 2019-07-11 00:19:00
Syrian rebels take strategic hilltop from Assad forces in Hama: activists
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian rebel factions on Wednesday have taken control of a town and its strategic hilltop in the northwestern Hama province, inflicting humiliating defeat on regime forces and allied militias, local activists said.

Seizing the town of al-Hamameyat in the northern countryside of Hama, followed the withdrawal of militants loyal to Bashar al-Assad forces due to heavy clashes with rebels.

Al-Hamameyat clashes killed 32 regime fighters and 24 rebel fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The fighting is ongoing as regime planes and artillery pound the area," the head of the Britain-based monitor Rami Abdel Rahman said Thursday morning.

Activists say the armed factions have adopted guerrilla war tactics and surprise attacks on army posts in Hams province that holds the Ghab Plain, an array of Alawite-dominated villages and one of main manpower supplies for Assad. 

Also in northernwestern Syria, the regime and Russian air strikes on Wednesday have killed 11 civilians including four children and knocked a hospital out of service, the Observatory said.

The raids are the latest in an uptick in deadly government and Russian bombardment since late April on the jihadist-administered region of Idlib despite a months-old truce deal.

Regime air strikes killed seven civilians including three children in the town of Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province, said the Observatory.

Three civilians died after the hospital was hit, while four were killed elsewhere in the town, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Rescue workers known as the White Helmets said missiles targeted the hospital and residential neighbourhoods in Jisr al-Shughur.

A doctor there said the health facility had been knocked out of service after the generators were hit, and the wounded had been transferred to another hospital for treatment.

"We have no more generators to operate the hospital. It's the only one for Jisr al-Shughur and neighbouring villages," Bassam al-Khattab told AFP.

In Hama, the Russian air raids hit a gathering of displaced people, killing four civilians including one child outside the town of Maaret Hurma in Hama province, the Observatory said.

The greater Idlib region, home to some three million people, has since January been administered by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but other jihadist and rebel groups are also present in the area.

The area includes most of Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.

More than 550 civilians have been killed in regime and Russian air strikes on northwest Syria since the end of April, the Observatory says.

The United Nations says 25 health facilities in the region have been hit, despite a September deal between Russia and rebel backer Turkey to avert a massive regime offensive there.

The spike in violence has caused 330,000 people to flee their homes since May 1, the UN has said.

Syria's war has killed more than 560,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests. (Zaman Al Wasl, AFP)

Zaman Al Wasl
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