Heavy Fighting Has Locals on the Run
While last week’s fighting between the Syrian military and rebels was most publicized in the capital city of Damascus, where rebels carried out multiple raids into what was thought to be a secure district in the city, fighting in northern Hama Province was also heavy.
And while Damascus fighting calmed down in just a couple of days, Hama fighting may be the more impactful, particularly on a humanitarian basis, as the UN is warning that some 40,000 civilians from Hama and the surrounding area have been displaced in recent days.
A lot of the locals are fleeing into Hama city itself, or into neighboring provinces held by the military. The northernmost part of Hama includes a lot of Christians and Alawites, who tend to be violently targeted by the Islamist rebels active in the area.
The fighting in the area includes several different factions, with reports that as many as 10 distinct rebel groups are all fighting, most of them aligned with the Free Syrian Army, but also with groups backed by al-Qaeda and ISIS having some presence in the area. These three basic rebel coalitions have been fighting one another as well recently.
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