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BEIRUT, October 7. /TASS/. The Syrian troops backed by the people’s militia have launched on Wednesday a broad offensive operation to the north-west of the city of Hama (220 kilometers north of Damascus), the administrative center of the province of the same name. According to the Surya al-Ain information portal, the government forces counterattack the enemy positions in the areas of the frontline near the settlements of Tamanaa, Kfar Zita, Al-Latamana, Al-Hubeit, Kafr Nabudah and Al-Hawash.
The Syrian army has been engaged since August in heavy defensive battles in the valley of Sahl al-Ghab located between the provinces of Hama and Iglib. The government forces are confronted by a coalition of extremist groups Jaysh Al Fateh led by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.
The militants’ breakthrough came as a surprise for Syrian commanders and created a threat for Syria’s central regions. The frontline approached the Alawite district of Jurin located on the Orontes River.
According to the Surya al-Ain information portal, after intensive air raids of the Russian Aerospace Forces the radicals halted the offensive actions in Sahl al-Ghab. The targets were their supply lines running from the mountainous region of Jabal al-Zawiya near the Turkish border.
Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov earlier said that the Russian strikes on Islamic State ammunition depots, armored vehicles and command centers "had caused panic among militants."