Syrian regime forces ‘seize control of northern Hama province’
Syrian regime media says President Bashar Assad's troops have seized control of a string of villages in the northern countryside of Hama province, completing its takeover of the region just south of Idlib province.
Regime TV reported that troops seized the villages of Latamneh, Latmeen, Kfar Zeita and Lahaya, as well as the village of Morek, where Turkey maintains an observation post, on Friday.
This area of northern Syria has been under the control of Syrian rebels for many years. Latamneh was the site of an Assad regime chemical weapons attack on an underground hospital in early 2017.
The fate of Turkish troops manning the post wasn't immediately clear. A conflict monitor reported that they were “besieged” in the post while Syrian opposition Orient TV quoted the Turkish Foreign Ministry as saying that Turkey would “deal with the new situation in the area”.
Regime troops, backed by Russian air cover, had laid siege to rebel-held villages in the central province of Hama earlier this week, following rapid advances.
Idlib, near the Turkish border, is the last major rebel-controlled province in Syria. A government offensive in the area has killed more than 800 people and led to the displacement of approximately 450,000.
The UN warned earlier this week that the lives of 3 million people in Idlib province were at risk due to the regime offensive.