16:39 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Smoke billows above buildings near the town of Hish in Syria's Idlib province

    Syrian Forces Gain Control Over Key Villages North of Hama - Military Source

    © AFP 2019 / Omar Haj Kadour
    Middle East
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    KHAN SHEIKHOUN (Sputnik) - The Syrian troops have gained control over the villages of Kafr Zita, Ltamenah, Latmeen, Tal Fas north of Hama, a Syrian military source said on Friday, as the government forces continue the offensive against militants in the northwest.

    "Now the Syrian army takes control over the villages of Kafr Zita, Ltamenah, Latmeen, Tal Fas north of Hama," the source said.

    According to the source, only three cities in the north of Hama, namely Morek, Lahaya and Maarkaba, are yet to be liberated.

    Morek is meanwhile home to the ninth Turkish observation post, which remains under the Syrian army’s siege for a few days. On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told Sputnik that Turkey would maintain its presence at the observation post despite the Syrian army regaining control over the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun.

    Fighting in Idlib intensified over the last few days. On Monday, a Turkish military convoy entered the Syrian city of Saraqib, located in Idlib, and headed to Khan Sheikhoun, which used to be under the militants’ control. In response to that, the Syrian Air Force hit the convoy.

    A Sputnik correspondent reported later that the Syrian army occupied key positions around Khan Sheikhoun, cutting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham* terrorist group's (formerly known as Nusra Front, banned in Russia) supply lines.

    On Wednesday, a local military source told Sputnik that the Syrian army had surrounded terrorists in settlements in the north of the Hama province, south of the city of Khan Sheikhoun. On Thursday, the source said that the Syrian army had regained control over Khan Sheikhoun.

    * Hayat Tahrir al-Sham - formerly known as Nusra Front [al-Nusra Front, the Nusra Front], a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries.

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