Regime pushes back in Sahl al-Ghab

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Regime forces recaptured a village in the al-Ghab plains region of northwest Hama on Wednesday in a first step towards opening up the supply route leading to rebel-controlled Jisr a-Shughour, reported the National Defense Forces Facebook page Wednesday. The regime's takeover of Furu village opens up a supply route to the contested city of a-Ziyara in al-Ghab, which in turn lies on a critical regime supply route running to Jisr a-Shughour, Abu Hayan al-Hamawi, a member of the pro-opposition Hama Media Office, told Syria Direct Wednesday. Al-Hamawi denied shabiha reports that regime forces had taken control of the town, saying that “the village is witnessing [ongoing] battles since this morning.” The governor of Hama province Ghassan Khalaf visited the al-Ghab plains Tuesday, as “the people of Sahl al-Ghab renewed their support for the Syrian army and armed forces in its continued war against terrorism,” reported Syrian official news agency SANA. Rebels began the battle for the northwest Hama plains known as Sahl al-Ghab last Thursday. Rebel control of the flatlands adjacent to Latakia, combined with the recent takeover of Jisr a-Shughour, would cut off supply lines to remaining regime forces in southern Idlib and also facilitate a future rebel attack on Latakia province.