Syrian government intensifies attacks around Damascus, Hama 

Syrian government forces intensified their bombardment of opposition-held areas around Damascus and the central city of Hama.

Published: 03rd April 2017 06:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2017 06:56 PM   |  A+A-

Civil Defense workers help their teammate after airstrikes hit a main street, killing many people. (File Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

BEIRUT: Syrian government forces intensified their bombardment of opposition-held areas around Damascus and the central city of Hama, activists reported Monday, as they pushed to erase battlefield advances made by insurgents in March.

"There's been a major escalation north of Hama in the directions of Maardes and Souran," said a local media activist going by the name Obeida Hamawi. He estimated more than 70 bombs and rockets had fallen on the adjoining village and town.

Syrian state media said government forces had reclaimed Maardes midday. Hamawi said local fighters were expecting the government to push for the larger Souran as early as Tuesday.

Syrian rebels and al-Qaida-linked fighters seized the towns in a surprise offensive two weeks ago. They reached within 10 kilometres (six miles) of Hama, Syria's fourth-largest city, before government forces and allied militias stopped the advance.

The Syrian government depends on Shiite fighting forces from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran to fortify its positions. Hamawi said they have been instrumental in the government's Hama counter-offensive, while pro-government Twitter accounts recorded the arrival of Iraqi reinforcements belonging to the Nujaba Movement to the area last week.

Pro-government forces meanwhile pounded areas around the capital and its suburbs, carrying out at least 50 airstrikes on opposition-held zones by midday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Thick smoke clouded the skies in the capital's Qaboun neighbourhood, and its Jisreen and Saqba suburbs, footage from the activist-run Qasioun and Step News Agencies showed. The activist-run Civil Defense search-and-rescue group, also known as the White Helmets, reported evacuating a number of wounded residents to hospitals from Hamouriyeh following presumed government or Russian airstrikes on the capital suburb.

At least 16 people were killed in an airstrike on the suburb's main road two weeks ago.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp