Syrian rebel advance in Hama as army pushes in Aleppo

BEIRUT - Syrian insurgents made new advances to capture villages north of Hama on Thursday, rebels and a war monitor said, pressing a month-long offensive in an area of strategic importance to the government as it tries to seize insurgent-held Aleppo.
The advance may distract from the offensive by the Syrian army and its allies, Shi'ite militias and Russia's air force, on rebel-held eastern Aleppo following a massive bombardment since a ceasefire collapsed last week.
A Syrian military source said on Thursday that the air force had conducted strikes in a string of villages north of Hama that rebels have seized in recent weeks, adding that it had destroyed tanks and armored vehicles and killed "dozens of terrorists."
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