(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BEIRUT - The Syrian army and allied forces advanced against rebels in western Syria near Hama city on Sunday, building on recent strategic gains in the area, a military source and a monitoring group said.
Government forces captured the town of Halfaya and nearby villages, they said, taking back territory that rebels seized last year from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
"We gained control of Halfaya and several hills in the area," the Syrian military source said. "The army will of course continue its fight."
Boosted by Russian air strikes and Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian army has pushed into rebel areas north of Hama, expanding its control this week along the western highway that links Damascus and Aleppo.