BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:15 P.M.) – The Syrian Army and allied paramilitary forces have scored a major advance against Rastan-based rebel groups in the southeastern countryside of Hama province, capturing five towns since an previous successful push earlier this (Monday) morning.

According to military-affiliated sources, Syrian assault units stormed and seized the settlements of Ard Qabr ash-Sheikhah, Zahrat Jababi, Zahrat Jasiyah, Khirbet Barbara and Ard Jaysiyah after clashes with militant fighters lasting several hours.

Furthermore, sources report that the Syrian Army also took control of the valley areas of Wadi Qarbat and Wadi al-Habiyah as well as the hilltop of Tal An-Naoraa, all located along its main advance route via the above-mentioned towns and villages.

Finally, information has now surfaced that veteran Syrian Army field commander Major General Muhammad Khaddour is leading the Ar-Rastan operation.

Updates to follow.

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