Syrian rebels wrist town from regime in Syria's Hama

Syrian rebels capture town on major highway in western province of Hama, after fierce battle with regime forces and pro-regime militias, monitor said

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Rebel fighters from the Ahrar al Sham opposition faction sit near Morek in the northern countryside of Hama on March 16 2015

Syrian rebels on Thursday captured the town of Morek on a major highway in western Syrian Hama province from the regime forces and allied militias, after fierce fighting, rebels reported and a monitoring group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that warplanes, believed to be Russian, targeted the town of Morek, north of Hama, after the rebels took control of the town.

Russia started its air campaign in Syria on September 30, targeting Assad opponent positions, although the initial claims for the campaign was to attack DAESH targets.

Morek is strategic location, since it is on the highway that is crucial to control of western Syrian territories.

Fares al Bayoush, whose group Fursan al Haq is part of the rebels’ factions participated in the attack, told Reuters “It [Morek] was a centre for the gathering of regime forces and a point of departure for its operations."

According to Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the SOHR, battles are still on-going inside the town which regime forces have been fighting since October 2014, to take control of it.

"The whole countryside of Hama is aflame... The offensive started two days ago, launched by Jund al Aqsa," an activist said in the condition of anonymity.

Dozens of pro-government fighters were killed and the rebels gained munitions and military vehicle and tanks.

Syrian state media did not mention the capture of the town of Morek.

However, Russia the main ally of the Syrian regime and its leader Bashar al Assad announced that it tends to invite both regime representatives and opposition members to meet in Moscow for talks to reach an end to the four-year long war in Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

Russian media claimed that there is an agreement to meet with the Syrian Free Army (FSA) delegation soon, which the Syrian National Coalition and FSA denied.  

The war in Syria started at 2011 as an uprising and later descended into a complex civil war with the interference of International and regional powers of Iran, United States and Russia.

The United Nations estimates the death toll in Syria, since the war started, to be at least 250,000.

A further estimate of 350,000 refugees have sought asylum in European Union countries since the war began in Syria in 2011.

About 4 million others took refuge in neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, with Turkey hosting the largest group with over 2 million.

Thousands are still pushing towards the EU countries which caused a global refugee crisis urging for an immediate solution in Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies