Map update: Syrian Army rips open militant lines amid renewed operation in north Hama

The Syrian Army has renewed its ground operation in the northwestern Syrian province of Hama , scoring a new advance within a few hours of its opening assault against rebel positions.

According to field reporters, the Syrian Army – led by combat groups of the elite Tiger Forces Division – hit insurgent defenses along the western flank of the north Hama salient and managed to capture the towns of Arbaeen and Az-Zakah as well as its their surrounding farms and the hill of Al-Ban.

The attack followed in the wake of a pulverizing two-day long air bombardment by the Syrian Air Force across northern Hama that churned-up militant defenses around Az-Zakah, Al-Hobait, Arbaeen and Kafr Zita.

The scale of the Syrian Army ground operation is unclear at this time, but it seems that the Tiger Forces will, at the very least, attempt to also capture the important high-point of Tal Abu Yazid to Az-Zakah’s north.

The capture of Az-Zakah dangerously compromises militant defenses around the cities of Kafr Zita and Al-Latamaneh (two of the three last major settlements under the control of rebels in Hama province – the other being Murak) and creates ideal conditions for a future Syrian Army operation (should it chose) towards either or both of these insurgent strongholds.

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