January 9, 2018 - 14:26 AMT
Syrian army launches surprise offensive in Hama

Syrian troops have reactivated operations against jihadist-led miltiias in northeastern Hama province, a front that has laid dormant for almost a month, capturing a town right off the bat, Al-Masdar News reports.

According to military-affiliated sources, the assault units of the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries on Tuesday, January 9 attacked Turkistani (ethnic Uyghurs) jihadist militants at the town of Al-Shakusiyah in Hama province’s northeastern countryside.

After brief clashes, jihadist fighters withdrew from Al-Shakusiyah and the town quickly fell to advance Syrian troops.

Al-Shakusiyah is located northeast of the strategic town of Rahjan, a key rebel-held road junction settlement area consisting of a number of smaller villages that had served as the hometown of the Syrian Ministry of Defence prior to its seizure by jihadist militants in 2014.

By the recent advance, Syrian troops have reactivated a front which until now had been dormant for weeks whilst other major battles developed in southeast Idlib province.