Middle East

Jihadists retake two villages in Syria’s Hama

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to fire a locally made launcher towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Mork town May 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Rif

BEIRUT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that two checkpoints near the central city of Hama were “liberated” from President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The Britain-based anti-Assad monitoring group said that Al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front and the Islamic Front, alongside other Islamist brigades, took control of two checkpoints at the entrances to the villages of Tal Melh and Al-Jamla. The villages are located in the northern province of Hama.

Violent clashes erupted there Sunday night, killing almost a dozen of regime forces and disabling two tanks along other heavy weaponry.

An activist from the Islamic Font’s Al-Iman Brigade confirmed the Observatory’s report, saying that the villages of Tal Melh and Al-Jamla are now controlled by the opposition.

“The two towns of Tal Melh and Al-Jamla have been liberated by jihadists,” he said, adding that the Islamists had succeeded in seizing two tanks, two trucks, and ammunition.

He said more than 20 pro-regime fighters were killed, and that clashes were still ongoing at Al-Jadida checkpoint near Shairaz village.

Activists also said that Kafr Zeita and Morek towns came under airstrikes and bomb barrels Monday, wounding a number of civilians.





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