BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:30 P.M.) – On Saturday, Russian warplanes carried out a major bombardment of the militant-controlled fortress town of Al-Latamenah in the northern countryside of Hama province.
Using a range of conventional munitions – including high-explosive, thermobaric (fuel-air) and bunker buster bombs – Russian airpower hit insurgent gatherings, movements, tactical positions and underground bases throughout the rebel stronghold with well over a dozen strikes.
The heavy airstrikes by Russian jets was a direct response to the indiscriminate shelling of the predominately Christian town of Saqilbiyah and the Alawite village of Tal Salhab (both under government control) by armed rebel factions the night before.
The town of Al-Latamenah is controlled by Free Syrian Army affiliate group Jaysh al-Izza. It possess a sophisticated network of defenses (including underground bases) in and around it.
In general, the settlement (nearly a city by Syrian standards) serves as a key mobilization point for militant groups to launch major assaults against the Syrian Army throughout northern Hama.