After inflicting heavy losses on the regime forces, ISIS restore its stronghold in Hama and the regime desperate to retake Uqayribat

Hama province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:: the violent battles in the eastern countryside of Hama are still ongoing between the regime forces and their allied militiamen of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities with the participation of Russian forces against members of ISIS. The SOHR learned that the organization managed to control Uqayribat town, which is its main stronghold in Hama after days of fighting, in which the organization managed to carry out repel, consecutive and violent attacks against the regime forces that had controlled the town days ago, and the clashes are accompanied by car bombs and suicide bombs of ISIS members, while the regime forces started their violent attacks in the area in an attempt to restore it from the organization, amid heavy artillery and missile shelling and airstrikes targeting the clash areas, and the regime forces managed yesterday to impose control over the power station and two villages in the eastern countryside of Salamiyah, within the continued fighting aimed at ending the presence of ISIS in Hama province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored more casualties in the ranks of both parties, where it documented the death of more than 228 ISIS members including 21 members who blew up themselves with booby-trapped vehicles and explosive belts, while it rose to 101, the number of members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen, who were killed in shelling and clashes since the morning of Saturday the 3rd of September 2017 until the 11th of September 2017.

Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received confirmed information that the “Islamic State” organization in the eastern countryside of Hama is keeping bodies and wounded of Russian forces who were killed and wounded in the eastern countryside of Hama, where the Russian forces are looking them, also Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the death of more members in the ranks of both parties.

In the same context, the situations of hundreds of families are getting worse days after the other, with the regime forces preventing them from crossing towards areas controlled by the factions in the northeastern countryside of Hama and towards Idlib province, in addition to preventing the citizens from passing by the “Islamic State” the organization, where the citizens are being targeted by the gunshots of both parties with each flee attempt by the citizens and their attempts to escape through the minefield planted by the regime forces on the line they control which separates between the areas control by the factions and Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and between areas controlled by the “Islamic State” organization, and local sources confirmed that in the last 24 hours some of the locales tried to escape after walking several sheep and cattle in front of them, in an attempt to cross the minefield, the regime forces, however, shot at them which caused fear among the locals and prevented them from continuing so they returned to where they were within areas controlled by the organization, and the regime forces captured the cattle.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 4th of September 2017 that it observed about 600 persons, mostly children and women, managed to reach areas controlled by the factions and Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham in the countryside of Hama and Idlib through Wadi Al-‘Azeeb area in the eastern countryside of Hama. Some of the citizens arriving from east of Hama confirmed to the SOHR activists that they took a road controlled by the regime forces and managed to avoid positions of the regime forces through roads and valleys passing between them. They also confirmed that the regime forces opened fire on them using their machine guns, causing the death of two persons at least, thus, the number of civilians whose arrival has been documented by the SOHR during the past 48 hours rose to about 1350.

Where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 2nd of September that tens of families reached the controlled areas of Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham in the eastern countryside of Hama and headed towards Idlib, coming from Wadi al-Azeeb area in the north-eastern countryside of Salamiyah, in the eastern countryside of Hama, reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that about 750 persons most of them are children and citizen women managed to get out of Wadi al-Azeeb area and reach Al-Rahjan area, and some of them headed to the southern countryside of Idlib, after they crossed the controlled areas of the regime during the past 48 hours.

The Reliable sources confirmed to the activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the “Islamic State” organization warned citizens not to move from this area which is controlled by the regime forces, and that it is planted with mines and it is witnessing a movement of the regime forces’ patrols between the spread checkpoints along the line separated between the controlled areas of Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and the factions and the controlled areas of the “Islamic State” organization, but the desperation of the families that are waiting in tragic human conditions, forced them to risk themselves and their children to survive, and the safe arrival of some families to the areas controlled by Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham encouraged the rest of the families to get out sequentially, in which these families are trying to sneak during the night hours in order not to be targeted by the regime force, while the sources confirmed that the most of citizens in the villages which were controlled by the organization in the east of Hama, displaced to Wadi al-Azeeb area during the past days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published in the 29th of August 2017 that the countryside of Hama is witnessing an anticipation of implementation of evacuation of thousands of civilians trapped in the besieged circle in the eastern countryside of Hama, and the SOHR learned that hundreds of families are waiting in al-Azeeb Valley area located at 16 km southwest of Ithriyah area in the eastern countryside of Salamiyah, and reliable sources asserted to the SOHR that the trapped citizens in the northern countryside of Hama are waiting for the opening of a safe corridor for them, while there is information about the starting of demining operations by the regime forces to open a safe corridor for the citizens to go out and head towards Idlib province, while such an escalated targeting of infrastructures and heavy shelling on and destruction of villages in the eastern countryside of Hama by the Russian and the regime’s warplanes along with its forces coincided with deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the area. About 5 thousand civilians are still trapped in this besieged area, namely the villages of the eastern countryside of Hama and the area linked to it in the eastern countryside of Homs. Tragically, they are experiencing a significant shortage of food and medicine and lack of hospitals, medical care and specialized doctors for the critical conditions. Local sources called upon International Organizations, through the SOHR, to put pressure on all actors to secure a safe passage for thousands of civilians – children, men, elderly, and women – to areas beyond the control of ISIS. Local sources confirmed to the SOHR that hundreds of families were transferred to areas near Ithriyah-Salamiyah road in order to move them to areas under the control of the factions and Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham. Contact was lost with tens of civilians while fleeing ISIS-controlled areas in the eastern countryside of Hama.

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