ISIS carried out its most violent attack since being besieged east of Hama along with booby-traps bombings and a simultaneous attack by Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham on the same area
Hama Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the regime forces shelled areas in Kafrzeta and Al-Sayad located in the northern countryside of Hama. They also targeted areas in the vicinity and at the outskirts of Mourk town in the same countryside, causing material damages only. In addition, a woman was killed and others were injured in shelling by the warplanes on areas in Al-Shouwayha, near Uqayribat in the eastern countryside of Hama. Warplanes also targeted areas in Abu Al-Fashafeesh village in the eastern countryside of Hama, causing the death of two civilians. The car they were riding was targeted when it passed through the area, which has been witnessing violent and intensive raids for days by the Russian and the regime’s warplanes along with heavy rocket and artillery shelling.
In the same context, fighting continued violently between the regime forces and their allied militiamen, of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, on one hand and ISIS on the other in areas near Al-Sa’an and Al-Sheikh Helal areas on Ithriyah-Salamiyah road. Clashes broke out again as a result of an attack by ISIS last night which was also accompanied by explosions of booby-trapped vehicles and tens of shells that targeted regime-controlled areas. The SOHR learned that the attack coincided with another violent attack by the fighters of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham on Al-Sa’an area in the northeastern countryside of Salamiyah in an attempt to take a step ahead of the regime in the area. Clashes were accompanied by bombings and tens of rocket and artillery shells, amid confirmed information that ISIS managed to make an advancement into the area and to take control of positions they had lost earlier. Meanwhile, warplanes carried out intensive raids on ISIS-controlled areas and on areas of clashes between both parties. The regime forces, on the other hand, launched at dawn today, the 24th of August 2017, a violent counter attack on Al-Mour, near Ithriyah-Salamiyah road, and on other areas in the eastern countryside of Salamiyah city aiming at advancing more, minimizing ISIS scope of control and securing the road again. This was also accompanied by an exchange of shelling on areas of clashes and renewed aerial, rocket and artillery shelling on ISIS-controlled areas in Uqayribat and its countryside.
The SOHR published around 48 hours ago that the regime forces managed to make an advancement into and to take control of hills in Al-‘Alabawi area. Clashes and raids were accompanied by shelling by the regime forces on areas of clashes. Casualties were reported at both sides. The SOHR observed the day before yesterday that the Russian and the regime’s warplanes carried out tens of airstrikes on ISIS-controlled areas in Uqayribat town and the villages controlled by the “Islamic State” organization in the eastern and northeastern countryside of Salamiyah within the besieged area. The SOHR learned that more than 120 raids targeted the villages of Al-Hessu, Jannah al-Alabawi, al-Rwayda, Abu Hanaya, Abu Hbeilat and other areas near Uqayribat. Several local sources told the Syrian Observatory that at least 60 civilians were killed and injured in the aerial shelling on al-Rwayda village and several other areas in the eastern countryside of Hama. At least 22 of them were killed, including 6 children and 4 women. The death toll is still likely to rise because some of the injured are in a critical condition and some are still missing, whether they were killed or are still alive is unknown. In addition, many of the injured are still trapped in the shelled area because of the difficulty of rescue operations due to the ongoing shelling on the area by the warplanes and the regime forces. 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, ad 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.