The 10 Islamist rebel militias in northern Hama that make-up the “Kafr Naboudeh Operation Room” have announced the start of their military operations to capture the imperative Christian city of Al-Sqaylabiyah in northern Hama, despite the large presence of pro-government civilians inside this section of the Al-Ghaab Plains.
According to social media activists from the Syrian Opposition, the obejective of this offensive is to “liberate” the city and its surrounding area from the “Assad forces”; however, this propaganda message from the Syrian Opposition leaves out several important details like the fact that the entire “Assad forces” inside Al-Sqaylabiyah are comprised of civilians from this city.
Similar to the Christian city of Mhardeh in northern Hama, Al-Sqaylabiyah is staunchly pro-government and heavily armed with civilian-led militias such as the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP); these paramilitary units have warned the Islamist rebels to leave them alone on several occasions, including last year when they foolishly attacked Mhardeh after capturing Morek from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Last year, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra – who is also allied to these rebels – attempted to capture Mhardeh; unfortunately, this assault worked against them, as they pushed too far and ended up on the defensive before losing the city of Morek to the Syrian Army.
The Islamist rebels have committed several crimes against the Syrian Christian population in the past, which include kidnapping priests and nuns; executing civilians for the sale of alcohol; desecrating Christian holy sites; and et al.
Unlike their previous attacks on the Christian towns of Kassab and Ma’aloula, the Islamist rebels are not attacking poorly defended areas, but rather, a well-fortified city that prides itself on its resistance.