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To Stop Rebels, Army Required Choking Siege In Syria

Syria’s army surrounded rebels in a crowd of towns in northwest Syria’s Hama countryside, imposing a “choking siege” and moving further in-depth into the pocket, state-run Ikhbariaya TV mentioned on Friday.

Government forces seized a dozen hills and expanded their control of the main highway that runs by the area and stretches from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city, the channel stated.

The live broadcast came from the nearby town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib province.

Sources told Al Jazeera that Khan Sheikhoun and far of the surrounding areas in northern Hama, which includes a few cities that rebels have held for years, were now either under army control or within its firing range.

Several rebel officials did not reply to requests for comment.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-government forces, backed by Russia, recovered the town of Kafr Zita from rebels who had controlled it since 2012.

A Turkish military post in the nearby city of Morek was now also encircled, the UK-based conflict monitor and state TV said.

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