Syrian media: Troops advance in north, breaking stalemate

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s state-run media say troops have scored advances on the ground in the north, seizing a hilltop village and a nearby town from insurgents.

The advances in the northern Hama countryside just south of Idlib province are the first in weeks, breaking a stalemate in the government forces’ offensive against the country’s last rebel stronghold.

Syria’s Central Military Media say troops captured the Tal Malah village and the nearby town of Jibeen on Monday after fierce confrontations with militants entrenched in the area.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the advances, saying the troops were able to seize the territory after militant groups withdrew, following intense air and ground shelling.

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The area has changed hands several times in the past weeks in the offensive which began late April.

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