Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Regime Forces Withdraw, Syrian Rebels Press Major Advance in Hama | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A still image taken from a video uploaded on social media on March 22, 2017, purports to show Tahrir al-Sham rebel fighters on tanks, said to be in Soran district, near Hama, Syria. Social Media Website via Reuters TV

Beirut – Paris – Pro-regime forces in Syria withdrew troops from Hama’s rural zones, located 213 km north of Damascus, after having come under a fierce attack launched by rebels.

After the pull back, Syrian opposition forces now control a total of nine villages, said local sources.

Rebel fighters in Hama’s northern rural area have staged a triple- rigged-wagon attack against regime-held village Kawkab. They soon took control of the location after regime forces drawing back.

Opposition factions launched BM-21Grad missiles towards the Hama airbase vicinity, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A rebel source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Syrian opposition factions made sweeping “advances on several fronts, especially towards the town of Shaliot, 3.5 kilometers away from the central city of Hama, and only three kilometers from its military airbase.

As for Syria’s political process, the fifth round of Syrian talks launched in Geneva on Thursday and in the absence of United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura.

De Mistura had recently concluded a global tour of countries that influence the Syrian crisis, with his last leg visiting Ankara, which he landed in after visiting Riyadh and Moscow.

Ramzi Ezzedine Ramzi, deputy to UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura held closed meetings in Geneva hotels hosting delegations representing warring Syria blocs. De Mistura’s office said that the meetings were preliminary in nature and held to establish initial communication.

The matter of the fact is that Geneva 5 will officially launch later Friday, with a series of official meetings being seen at the UN headquarters in the Swiss city which had hosted previous rounds of Syria peace talks.

Increased fighting, despite a ceasefire brokered in December by Russia and Turkey, casts further doubt on peacemaking efforts in Geneva, where talks resume on Thursday after making no progress towards peace in recent rounds.