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Syrian Army Retakes Strategic Town From Rebels Near Hama City

The Syrian Army, backed by Russian air support and Iranian-backed militias, have retaken the strategic town of Soran near the city of Hama, rebel fighters and local residents say.

A member of a rebel group on April 16 told the Reuters news agency that intense bombing had "targeted the town and the whole area."

He said the rebels fought "fierce battles" until they were forced to retreat.

Rebels reported that Syrian troops stormed Soran following multiple strikes by Russian jets. Other area towns, including Latamneh and Kafr Zeita, were also targeted, they said.

The rebels said the Syrian Army was aided by Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias.

Soran, in central western Syria, had been captured by the army last year before being lost again after a rebel offensive.

The capture of the town mostly reverses the gains made by rebels last month in northern Hama Province.

The rebels remain in the strategic town of Morek, north of Hama city, on a major highway giving access to western Syria.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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