Syrian Rebels Reverse Weekend Govt Gains in Hama Province

Heavy Fighting Continues as Rebels Also Try to Move Into Latakia Province

by Jason Ditz, October 10, 2016

Over the weekend, the Syrian military recovered substantial territory in the northern portion of the Hama Province, recovering a number of villages and towns which had fallen in late August. Today, however, the rebels reversed the momentum and recovered a pair of the villages.

The northern part of the Hama Province is strategically important because it borders a lot of contested territory, but also as an ideological tool for the Islamist rebels trying to claim it, because it is populated by a number of Christian and Alawite groups.

This territory is particularly important right now though because of its proximity to Aleppo, with the government obviously wanting to limit the ways Islamist fighters can get into Aleppo to shore up the defenses of the Nusra Front-held half of the city.

The new rebel counter-attack appears not to be wholly centered on Hama, however, with reports they’re also trying to advance into the coastal Latakia Province. Heavy fighting and a lot of shelling is reported, but so far it is unclear how much territory is trading hands.

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