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Syria retakes cluster of towns in last terrorist bastion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated photo shows the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib province after being liberated by the Syrian army. (Photo by SANA)

The Syrian army has seized control of a pocket of territory in the northwestern province of Hama from militants who had held it since the early years of the war.

Troops have pushed deep into a cluster of towns and their environs in the Hama countryside since Friday morning, encircling militants and a Turkish military post there, Syria’s official news agency SANA and a war monitor said.

Army units managed to establish control over the towns of Latamina, Latmin, M’aerkaba, Kafar Zita, and Lahaya in Hama’s northern countryside after establishing control over the strategic town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, SANA said. 

Government troops, meanwhile, started an operation Friday to cleanse Khan Shaykhun of remaining terrorists and dismantle mines and explosives in the region.

Large parts of Idlib Province, occupied by foreign-backed terrorists since 2014, and parts of Hama constitute the last major militant stronghold in Syria.

On Thursday, SANA reported that the army had opened a humanitarian corridor in both provinces for the safe exit of civilians fleeing violence by foreign-backed militants.

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The new corridor would allow civilians to leave the southern part of Idlib and the northern part of Hama, where troops have advanced against militants with aerial cover, an unnamed official told the news agency.

Those civilians who pass through the corridor to reach the army lines will be provided with shelter, food, and healthcare, and other necessities, the official added.

Syria has managed to take back control of many territories from the Daesh and other terrorist groups which have been wreaking havoc in the country since 2011. The foreign-backed war has displaced millions of people inside the Arab country.

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