Assad regime seizes control of northern Hama countryside

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 23.08.2019 12:56
Updated 23.08.2019 13:03
Assad regime forces gather near the town of Khan Shaykhun in the southern countryside of Idlib province, Aug. 18, 2019. (AFP Photo)
Assad regime forces gather near the town of Khan Shaykhun in the southern countryside of Idlib province, Aug. 18, 2019. (AFP Photo)

The forces loyal to the regime of Bashar Assad seized a pocket of territory in northwest Syria from opposition fighters who had held the towns since the early years of the war, state-run news agency SANA said Friday.

According to the regime, its troops have seized the villages of Latamneh, Latmeen, Kfar Zeita and Lahaya, as well as the village of Morek, where Turkey maintains an observation post.

The Assad forces pushed deep into the small cluster of towns and their environs in the Hama countryside since the morning, encircling the opposition forces and Turkey's No. 9 observation point, state media and a monitor said.

The Assad regime, backed by Russian air cover, had laid siege to opposition-held villages in the central province of Hama earlier this week, following rapid advances.

Idlib, near the Turkish border, is the last major opposition-controlled province in Syria. A regime offensive in the area has killed hundreds and led to the displacement of close to 450,000.

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