Syrian army forces, backed by fighters from pro-government popular defense groups, have engaged Takfiri militants in the western central province of Hama, liberating a strategic hilltop from the extremists.
Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syrian soldiers and their allies launched an operation against foreign-backed terrorists east of the town of Athreya on Friday evening, and managed to wrest control over Abu Zain Hill, Arabic-language Syria Now news website reported.
Separately, Syrian army units and popular defense groups cut off the major supply routes of Daesh militants after establishing control over al-Zakiya and Deir Hafir districts in Hama Province.
An unnamed military source said a large number of the militants were killed and wounded in the process, and scores of armored vehicles destroyed.
Moreover, a high-ranking commander of al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front militant group, identified by the nom de guerre Omar Dagestani, has been killed during clashes with Syrian forces. There were, however, no immediate reports when and where the exchanges of gunfire took place.
Heavy clashes also broke out between Nusra Front terrorists and Daesh-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade on the outskirts of Saham al-Jawlan village in Syria’s southwestern province of Dara’a, with no casualties reported.
Elsewhere on the southern outskirts of Mount Abdulaziz, located some 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) west of the northeastern city of Hasakah, fierce skirmishes erupted between Daesh terrorists and militiamen from Syrian Democratic Forces. No reports of casualties were available.
Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
A ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect on February 27 in Syria, but it does not apply to Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups.
The Syrian army has vowed to press ahead with its counter-terror operations and drive terrorists out of their major positions.