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Eliminating the Hope Connecting al-Asi River’s Banks while Fear Overcomes the Two Waring Sides 

Al-Sharia bridge after being bombarded by the opposition factions in rural Hama – August 31, 2018 (Facebook)

Al-Sharia bridge after being bombarded by the opposition factions in rural Hama – August 31, 2018 (Facebook)

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The “Free Army” affiliated “National Front for Liberation’s” bombardment of the bridges connecting the opposition-held areas with those under the control of the Syrian regime in rural Hama has triggered the area’s local councils and civil entities’ outrage.

The bombardment targeted the two bridges of al-Sharia and Bait al-Ras in al-Ghab Plain, in addition to the al-Tuwayni bridge a week after, which make the principal link between the two sides’ areas of control, while the people in a al-Huwayz prevented them from bombarding the bridges at their area.

The bridges’ bombardment corresponds to talks about the anticipated offensive of Assad’s forces in Idlib governorate, north-western Syria, after massive military reinforcements has reached the area’s surrounding it, especially to Jurin camp, western Hama.

 

Local People Disapprove the Step

The area has witnessed a state of rage on the part of the people in the western countryside of Hama, as a reaction to the bridges’ bombardment, because many towns have been controlled by Assad’s forces in the past a few years from which the people were displaced to opposition-held areas, while these towns’ people were “hoping” to return to their areas which Assad’s forces entered, covering hundreds of hectares of agricultural lands to the west of al-Asi river.

The towns include al-Hakoura, al-Touta, al-Drableh, al-Tamanah, al-Ramleh, Qabr Fidda, al-Ashrafiah and al-Karim, which Assad’s forces destroyed completely and confiscated their agricultural lands in al-Ghab Plain, known for their fertile soil, where various crops are cultivated.

The director of the Local Council at Qabr Fidda town Abdulmoeen, Abu Ali, told Enab Baladi that the military factions “have eliminated the hope of liberating the villages of rural Hama,” he demanded an explanation from the factions, pointing out that the bridges were better not be bombarded until a real threat is sensed, upon which the local councils would have approved and supported the decision.

The bridges’ importance erupt from their being the bond between the nine towns to the west of al-Asi and the villages to its eastern part, in addition to being an agricultural and commercial crossing to each area where they are erected.

The opposition-held area is witnessing a state of anticipation and fear of the break out of a military operation, which means the displacement of thousands of civilians towards the northern areas, near the Turkish borders, which corresponds to fear on the counter bank of the Syrian war.

The Counter Bank Stuck in a State of Tension

With talks about the anticipated battle, the towns and villages, adjacent to the opposition-held areas and which the Syrian regime controls are also living a state of tension, anticipation and fear of any reaction on the part of the opposition factions, taking into consideration their population’s components, the majority of which is Alawites.

Doctor Saloum, a man from of the Alawite community in al-Ghab Plain, confirmed the state of anticipation that the area’s people are enduring under, adding that “a meeting was held, joining the prestigious personalities of the area who expressed their disapproval of the battle due to the increasing number of the young people whom they have lost during the battles.”

Saloum, a man who left his area because of security harassment, told Enab Baladi that it has been agreed to “thrust the factions which reconciled with the regime at the fore front, and to distance the area’s people.”

He pointed to fear of targeting the area with military operations by the opposition factions, as a response to Assad’s forces mobilization, which triggered some families to leave the area until the battles end.

Under the two sides interactions, the commanders of the opposition factions are also threatening to move towards the Syrian regime’s areas, one of these key threats was stated by the commander of “Jaysh al-Izza” (The Army of Glory) Lieutenant Commander Jamil al-Slah, who threatened to storm Hama and advance towards other areas with the first step that Russians and the Syrian regime would undertake.

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