The Syrian Army announced a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking several key cities and regions from terrorist forces after a week-long bombing campaign by Russia targeting the jihadists.
The government forces “have been keeping the initiative for several years,” said General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, the head of the Syrian General Staff, announcing the offensive. The offensive was made possible by the effort made by Russia in supporting the Syrian government militarily, Ayyoub said.
“The airstrikes of the Russian Air Force have damaged the capabilities of the international terrorist organization Islamic State and other groups,” the general said.
Russian warplanes began attacking terrorist targets in Syria last week, hitting over 100 targets throughout the country. According to Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, Russia “has produced significant results in several days that greatly surpass those achieved by the [US-led anti-ISIS] coalition in over a year.”
Earlier, local media reported that government forces were deployed in several Syrian provinces with the biggest operation taking place in Hama, 200 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus. Lebanese TV channel Al-Manar said the Syrian army group in Hama advanced some 50 kilometers on Wednesday, taking several towns and strategically important mountain strongholds from militants of the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, and other terrorist groups operating in the area.
Syrian government forces also went on the offensive in the Idlib province.