Smoke rises during heavy fighting between rebel fighters and forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad in the town of Morek in Hama province July 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Badi Khlif)
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Syrian troops have regained control of villages near a military air base in the central province of Hama, pushing back rebel fighters in the area, an activist group said Tuesday.The advances came after the launch of an operation reportedly led by Suhail al-Hassan, the Syrian officer notorious for a brutal campaign of barrel bombing in Aleppo as well as operations in the northern province that have seen regime forces regain large stretches of territory.In southern Qunaitra province, meanwhile, where rebel forces seized the Syrian side of a crossing with Israeli-occupied territory last week, fighting continued between rebels and regime forces.Operations were also ongoing in the eastern Damascus district of Jobar, which the regime is trying to wrest from rebel control.
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