The Free Syrian Army said that the offensive it has recently launched in northern and northwestern rural Hama is not directed at the town of Maharda. The FSA and rebel groups have made sweeping gains against regime forces over the past few days, capturing many towns and villages from regime forces and the Iranian-backed militias.
The FSA-affiliated Jaish Al-Ezza, one of the main rebel groups participating in the offensive in rural Hama, issued a statement explaining that the predominantly Christian town of Maharda is not a target for the FSA and rebel groups.
A spokesman for Jaish Al-Ezza said: “To the people of the town of Maharda we say: the Russian invaders and the Assad regime is trying to trade with the issue of minorities in Syria and is playing the sectarian card when they claim that the FSA aims to attack your town.”
The rebel and FSA offensive in northern and northwestern rural Hama came after the Assad regime’s continued violations of the ceasefire agreement and the failure of Russia, a guarantor of the agreement, to meet its obligations with regards to the ceasefire. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)