BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels advanced further toward government-held Hama city on Wednesday, capturing a town in an offensive that threatens government loyalist areas populated by minority Christians and Alawites north of the city, rebels and a monitor said.
The town of Soran, around 14 km north of Hama on the main Aleppo-Damascus highway, was taken “completely”, the hardline jihadist rebel group Jund al-Aqsa said in an online statement.
Since launching an offensive on Monday in the northern Hama countryside, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) alliance and other rebel groups have taken a number of towns and villages.
They are pushing south from rebel-held Idlib province into a swathe of government-held land which reaches down to the capital Damascus.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the five-year conflict, said Soran had been taken and clashes and air strikes between government forces and rebels continue.
Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alison Williams