Rebels Kill, Wound 40 Regime Troops South of Hama Province

Rebel sources claim opposition fighters captured checkpoints from pro-Assad fighters in western Syria, killing and wounding scores

Syrian rebels seized four checkpoints from forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in the southern countryside of Hama, killing and wounding 40 troops, a rebel source said Tuesday.

The operation room of the northern countryside of Homs also thwarted a regime attack on Al-Zarah, about 35 km north of Homs city, less than a week after rebels took the town.

Regime forces attempting to retake the majority Alawite village have used air strikes and barrel bombs, while the regime forces and their allies were still fighting insurgents nearby, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At least eight of the rebels had been killed in the clashes, the monitoring group said, adding that insurgents had also captured a number of government fighters.

Meanwhile, major world powers failed to agree on a new date for peace talks between warring Syrian parties, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said Tuesday.

"The issue is still waiting for some type of concrete outcome of this meeting but we cannot wait too long, we want to keep the momentum," de Mistura told reporters alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The powers agreed to reinforce a ceasefire across the country and to push through humanitarian aid deliveries to besieged areas, including through air drops.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Tuesday that if President Assad did not abide with efforts to establish a truce across the country, alternatives would need to be looked at.

"We believe we should have moved to a 'Plan B' a long time ago," Jubeir told reporters after a meeting of foreign governments in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

"The choice about moving to an alternative plan, the choice about intensifying the military support [to the opposition] is entirely with the Bashar regime. If they do not respond to the treaties of the international community … then we will have to see what else can be done.”

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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