Putin in Syria: Rebels Continue To Advance In Hama Province

November 6, 2015

Syrian rebels are continuing to push back regime forces in the Hama province.

The previous post in our Putin in Syria column can be found here.

Rebels Continue To Advance In Hama Province

Rebel fighters have continued to make gains in the north of the Hama province following the seizure of Morek on November 4. 

Rebel fighters from the Islamic Front, including both Jaish al-Fatah and Ahrar al-Sham, pushed southeast from the town of Sukayak, which was retaken on October 28, first capturing the village of Tell Sukayk, where a large cache of Russian-manufactured weapons and ammunition was captured:

In the video we can see dozens of 120 mm mortar shells, tank rounds, landmines, an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher, a sniper rifle and what appears to be an RPO-A Shmel thermobaric missile launcher.

To have abandoned such a large amount of weaponry without destroying it indicates that the regime withdrawal was hurried and disorganised.

After Tell Sukayk, the settlements of Atshan, Umm Haratayn and Qubaybat Abu al-Huda fell.

Video from inside Atshan: 

This footage shows a burnt-out, Russian-made T-72 tank in Umm Haratayn:



This Islamic Front tweet claims that rebel fighters have reached the entrance of the regime-held town of Maan:

There are reports of fighting in the area today:

Meanwhile Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jets at the Hmeemeem airbase in Latakia have been spotted with unguided rocket pods for the first time in the operation, indicating that they may be deployed in close air support rather than air strike roles:

We know that Russian Hind helicopter gunships were operating around Morek last month, and Russian jets struck the town yesterday after it fell to rebels, but with regime forces failing to hold territory let alone make advances, the Russian Air Force will likely have to switch tactics to provide closer support to the Syrian Army.

— Pierre Vaux