Syria Daily: Clashes Reported in Northern Hama Province

Rebels in northern Hama Province, March 24, 2017

Fighting in area where rebels advanced but were then pushed back this spring


Clashes between pro-Assad forces and rebels have been reported in northern Hama Province, in the heaviest fighting since Russia declared a de-escalation zone in early May.

Activists claimed dozens of shells and rockets were fired near Maan, 23 km (15 miles) north of Hama city. Each side blamed the other for the outbreak, with rebels saying that pro-Assad units tried to advance north from the town and a Hezbollah media outlet asserting that rebels had attacked but were repelled.

Casualties were claimed but unconfirmed.

Rebels captured Maan this spring amid an offensive this spring that closed within 5 km (3 miles) at Hama city at one point. The regime’s military and its foreign allies, enabled by Russian airstrikes, regained the territory.

Civilian Control Declared in Atareb in Western Aleppo

The Revolutionary General Assembly has declared civilian control of the town of al-Atareb in western Aleppo Province.

A statement on Friday declared “an agreement to neutralize the city from infighting and sectarianism, and consider the city under an independent civil administration, not affiliated with any military faction”. It asserted independence of the police, judiciary, and local services.

The decision was spurred by renewed in-fighting between the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadist bloc and the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham across Idlib and western Aleppo Provinces. HTS — led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly affiliated with Al Qa’eda — advanced into a series of villages, but has faced protests from residents.

There were large demonstrations in Atareb rejecting the in-fighting and calling for the neutrality of the town.

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  1. The Iranian-Russian expansion in Syria has ended except in ISIS areas. Raqqa may for some time end up in their hands, but they can’t hold it. Deir Ezzor they won’t get, that’s almost for sure.
    Idlib is facing rather little external threat now, they may soon get an united rebel government.
    It is excepted that the rebel-NW will go into a huge boom, with not just reconstruction but also much new construction, displacement has greatly increased the region’s population relative to rest of Syria.
    For “regime” held “red Syria” ravaged by crime, drugs, warlordism, extreme corruption, there is only more chaos and ruin awaiting. Infighting is spreading, with ISIS out of Raqqa there is the prospect, as Tillerson just warned, of a renewed full scale civil war in “red Syria”.
    For Idlib to boom requires that the HTS problem be addressed. But it’s very realistic that even an entirely HTS-ruled Idlib would do better than “red Syria”. For HTS is able to govern and bring tyrannical order.
    If the rebel-NW does boom there is one thing its people want above all others. Revenge, revenge, revenge. Killing the Assadist terrorists at last. Most resources will surely go into arms and military buildup.

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