Government braces Hama holdings; advances in Latakia

NOV 16

As a government offensive rolls out in Aleppo, scattered clashes and bombardment flashed around Hama, Idlib and Latakia.

Last Monday, word spread that opposition forces moved towards al- Suqaylabiyah. The town is primarily Christian and staunchly pro-government, wrote al- Masdar News. Most of the garrison is reportedly militia comprised of locals. Government infantry and armor continued their consolidation of the Salamiyah – Raqqa highway, reportedly capturing Jinan.

Later that day, rebel forces took al- Mughayr in the countryside northeast of al- Suqaylabiyah. The opposition also captured al- Abboud Checkpoint just south of Morek, according to both sides. The loyalist garrison retreated toward Souran, reported Site Intel Group.

Sham Front prepares to assault al- Mughayr.

Fighting broke out around Ma’an, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Fighting reportedly continued around the al- Abboud Checkpoint amid intense shelling and bombing throughout the region. They also reported rebel forces in control of positions around Kafr Naboudeh’s grain silos.

Sham Legion fires upon silos. 

Infantry moves up. 

First person footage of night fighting around the silos.

On Tuesday, SOHR reported widespread bombing across Hama, including Morek, Ma’arkbeh, Kafr Naboudeh, Kafr Zita, Tal Wassit, al- Mansoura and others. Fighting also continued throughout the countryside and around Sakhr, the Obervatory wrote.

Fighting around Sakhr front

SANA reported that Minister of Defense Fahd Jasem al-Freij inspected fronts in Hama and Latakia. As government forces closed in Kuweires airbase in Aleppo, al- Masdar News wrote that the Tiger Forces would redeploy to northern Hama. The move would bolster loyalist defenders in the region and reverse previous losses, according to al- Masdar News.

Government forces retook Mughayr, the silos and Tal Sakhr, al- Masdar News wrote.  SANA  gave credit to Russian air power for helping to reach Kuweiris airbase and for blunting the rebel offensive in Hama.

Bombing and shelling continued into Wednesday all across the Hama countryside and Sahl al- Ghab, according the SOHR. FARS News reported ISIS elements hit in al-Lataminah although that group’s nearest positions are east of al- Salamiyeh. Syrian troops also destroyed a truck around al-Abboud, FARS News wrote.

Elements of the Tiger Forces brigade moved to Hama by way of the Khanasser – Ithriyah Highway, al- Masdar News reported. ISIS captured sections of the route in previous weeks, but the government forces reopened the road. The elite units will help reverse opposition gains around Morek, according to al- Masdar News.

Liwa Fursan al-Haqq TOW strike around Morek. 

Tanker hit around Hamamiyat, northern Hama

The air campaign continued over Hama, reports indicated. Syrian pilots fly two to four sorties per day, wrote Sputnik. While they are largely safe from anti-air weapons when flying above 4.5 km, they often reduce their altitude for accuracy, according to Sputnik. Missions are issued in accordance with incoming intelligence, a Syrian pilot reportedly told them.

Meanwhile, Jaysh al- Fatah announced they would once again resume the fight against Assad. In late October, Jund al- Aqsa withdrew from the group. They remain at their positions, still fighting the Damascus government and cooperating with other rebels as necessary. Pro-opposition Eldorar Alshamia reported the resumed Jaysh al- Fatah did not include Jund al- Aqsa.

Jaysh al- Fatah resumes operations.
Source: Orgignally uploaded by the group’s Twitter at https://twitter.com/alsdq1/status/665203260400246788, since removed.

On Friday, SOHR reported bombing in Ziyarah, Tal Wassit, al- Mansoura, al- Lataminah and Kafr Zita. Clashes reportedly occurred around Ma’an, Souran and Morek, which was also subject to bombardment. The Observatory issued similar reports through the weekend, as did FARS News. Bombing reportedly continued into Sunday, as did fighting around Morek.

In Latakia, the government and opposition battled for Ghuman. Further east, Loyalists launched an offensive on Tuesday morning, reported al- Masdar News. Pushing from locations between Salma and Jabal Nabi Younis, the government hopes to capture high ground from which to attack the rest of Jabal al- Akrad. The operation reportedly involved the Republican Guard and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

1st Coastal division deploys tank to Ghuman.

Shelling reportedly broke out around Jabal al- Turkman while rebels hit machine gun positions around Jub al- Ahmar. Ordinance launched into Latakia city killed over 20 people and wounded dozens more, SOHR and al- Masdar News reported.

 

The fighting around Ghuman drug on through Wednesday and Thursday. Airstrikes reportedly hit locations around Jabal al- Akrad and Jabal al- Turkman, with mutual shelling between rebel and loyalist ground forces. On Friday morning, the loyalists took the al-Katf Mountains as part of their march to Sirmaniyah, al- Masdar News wrote.

NDF fights for Ghumam

ANNA report on Government troops at Nabi Younis

Iraqi Shia militia Harakat Hezbollah fights in Latakia. They’ve stated that they intend to break through to the surrounded Fu’ah and Kafraya pocket.

On Sunday, the government advanced in the mountains. SANA wrote that after taking several tops in the heavily wooded and rugged terrain, government forces combed the area for IEDs. They reportedly seized rebel heavy weapons and pursued them. SOHR confirmed the gains.

Today, al- Masdar News reported that government troops retained Ghumam. Furthermore, the Republican Guard has attacked Dier Hana to the north but does not yet control the town, al-Masdar News wrote. The publication also mentioned government gains around Jabal al- Kaft and Rouyasset Iskandar. Their occupation by government forces would threaten an attack on al- Sirmaniyah, and perhaps Jisr al-Shugour in the future.

Reports of airstrikes plagued Idlib. On Monday planes targeted the southern countryside, hitting Taman’aa, Khan Shiekhoun and al- Hbit, wrote SOHR. Planes reportedly hit Ma’arat al- Numann on Tuesday. Later in the week, the Observatory counted bombing in Ariha, Tal Aas, Sarja, Tanafaz airbase, Benin and Barisa.

For background about Jaysh al- Fatah, check out last week’s writeup. (Links from November 2 – 8)

Start at the beginning with my fall of Idlib post. (Links from 2011 – Summer 2015)

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