A rebel fighter walks past a roller shutter bearing the Syrian flag, in the village of Rahbet Khattab in the Hama province on March 23, 2017. AFP / Omar haj kadour
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Militants and other rebel groups made advances against the Syrian army north of Hama Thursday, an activist group said, part of their biggest offensive for months, underscoring the bleak prospects for peace talks which resumed in Geneva.A Syrian military source said government reinforcements were being summoned for a counteroffensive.Since the Hama offensive began late Tuesday, the rebels have captured about 40 positions from the army including at least 11 villages and towns, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group, said.In north Syria, meanwhile, government forces are besieging the last Daesh stronghold in Aleppo province, weeks after launching an offensive to retake the entire area, state media and the Observatory reported Thursday. The push on Deir Hafer comes as U.S. aircraft ferried Syrian Kurdish fighters and allies behind Daesh lines to spearhead a major ground assault on the strategic militant-held town of Tabqa in Raqqa province, which borders Aleppo.The Syrian Central Military Media says Syrian government troops launched the Deir Hafer siege late Wednesday after capturing nearby areas.
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