Syrian media: Troops advance in north, breaking stalemate

Syrian media: Troops advance in north, breaking stalemate
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows Syrian White Helmet civil defense workers and civilians carry an injured man on a stretcher after an airstrike hit the northern town of Ariha, in Idlib province, Syria, Sunday, July 28, 2019. Syrian opposition activists and a war monitor say five people have been killed in airstrikes on a town in the country's northwest as the government keeps up its deadly air campaign on the rebel-controlled region. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

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.

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