As regime forces were witnessing their own defeat at the beginning of the battles in Hama’s northern countryside on August 29, opposition forces used the opportunity to move in and control larger spaces near to the city, activists and military commander told Alsouria Net.
The opposition victories incited fear and doubt among Assad supporters, who started to accuse the regime forces of betrayal following the rapid and major defeats in the battles of Hama’s countryside.
Loyalist’s distrust was further heightened after the Homs lawmaker Wahid Yazbek directed an appeal to President Bashar Assad, questioning the retreat of regime forces from the area.
"The retreat occurred after they (the rebels) had almost taken over Maardoos. Instead of moving forward toward Soran and Kokab, Maardoos was lost followed by Maan and other villages. Who was behind this? The armed [rebels] admitted that they were losing when suddenly God sent invisible soldiers. Those who betrayed the men in Maardoos wanted Hama to fall in the hands of the armed (opposition) groups," he wrote.
Thousands of pro-regime loyalists responded to the appeal, with hundreds sharing Yazbek's words on their Facebook pages.
Abou Shadi Al-Hamwi, a media activist, told Alsouria Net that the main reason for the regime withdrawal was that the opposition forces were able to breach the first fortified barricade. He pointed out that the pro-government fighters that were protecting the area were not trained for fighting of this kind.
The activist confirmed that the battles in the northern countryside of Hama have exhausted the regime forces, adding that only a few members of the National Defense Forces militia who had been stationed on military checkpoints remained, while those who were experienced in fighting real battles were either captured or dead.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.