2012 Hama offensive

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2012 Hama offensive
Part of the Syrian civil war
2012 Hama Offensive.svg
Frontlines during and following the offensive

     Syrian Government control      Opposition control

Date 16–31 December 2012
(2 weeks and 1 day)
Location Hama Governorate, Syria
Result Offensive stopped[1]
  • FSA fighters take control of 10 towns and villages in northern Hama
  • Halfaya massacre
  • Syrian army counter-attack recaptures several towns and villages
Belligerents
Syrian National Coalition Syria Syrian Government
Commanders and leaders
Kassem Saadeddin[2] Unknown
Units involved
Unknown Unknown
Strength
~1,000 fighters 2,000 soldiers[3]
Casualties and losses
132 killed[4][5] 111 killed[4][5]
90–200 civilians killed[6][7]

The 2012 Hama offensive was a military operation during the Syrian civil war launched by the Syrian armed opposition on 16 December 2012 with the intent of taking control of Hama Province. The offensive was stopped after the Syrian Army launched a counter-offensive, leaving the rebels in control of only half a dozen towns and villages in the north of the province.

Background[edit]

With the Hama province largely controlled by Army Forces, the FSA launched an offensive on 16 December, to capture the province and Hama city itself and by the same time, cutting the principal supply route of the Army in Aleppo.

Offensive[edit]

The rebel military council of Hama announced the start of the offensive on 16 December, giving government troops in the province an ultimatum to surrender to the Free Syrian Army within 48 hours.[2] Within two days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Qassem Saadeddine, a member of the Free Syrian Army military command, claimed that government troops had already been cleared from the small towns of Halfaya, Kafr Nabudah, Hayalin, Hasraya, al-Lataminah, Taybat al-Imam and Kafr Zita, leaving the rebels in control of the rural western part of Hama province and all areas north of Hama city.[8][9][10] Rebels had advanced 40 kilometres (25 mi) south from Maarrat al-Nu'man and Jisr ash-Shugour, encountering little resistance.[11] It seemed that rebels had overrun army lines north of Hama city within 48 hours.[9] Government positions in Khan Shaykhun and Mhardeh were reportedly under attack by rebel forces.[2]

The rebels also made claims of fighting inside Hama city itself, with international analysts wondering if the army was redeployed towards Homs and Latakia. However, this was not confirmed.[9][10]

On 19 December, according to the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), security forces reportedly set up checkpoints outside Hayalin, leading to doubts as to whether or not rebels had full control over the town, unlike the other places they captured in the operation.[12]

On 20 December, rebels attacked and captured parts of the town of Murik in Hama's countryside and were surrounding the Alawite towns of Ma'an and al-Tleisa.[13]

On 23 December, the LCC and SOHR reported that up to 300 civilians were killed by bombing from warplanes in the city of Helfaya while queuing for bread at a bakery.[14] The Syrian Government did agree that many women and children were killed, however they blamed rebel fighters who they say attacked the town.[15]

On 26 December, the Syrian Army retook control of the three Alawite villages, including Ma'an, repelling the rebels who had entered them days earlier.[16]

On 29 December, six people were killed by the airforce bombardment on the town of Kafr Nabudah, two of them were children and two women. Also, one civilian was killed by the bombardment on the town of Taybat al-Imam.[17]

On 30 December, the Syrian army general command announced that they took back control of the strategic town of Murik.[18]

On 31 December, Army shelling was reported on Halfaya.[19]

Aftermath[edit]

On 21 January 2013, SOHR said that a car bomb near the headquarters of a pro-government militia killed 50 people in the eastern suburbs of Hama.[20]

On 22 January, the military launched an offensive, with the aim of recapturing territory lost during the rebel advance into northern Hama. 1,500 soldiers and 100 tanks were being used in the operation, and the focus was on the town of Kernaz in Mhardeh District, where up to 1,000 rebel fighters were based. By early February, the rebels were reportedly in fear of losing Kernaz and with it Kafr Naboudeh. This would leave the military in control of the whole north of Hama, reversing all previous rebel gains.[21]

On 6 February, 54 government employees of a defense-related factory were killed in al-Buraq south of Hama city, when a mini-bus blew up at a bus stop.[22]

On 7 February, the military recaptured Kernaz, after 16 days of fighting.[23] Two days before, the Army had also regained control of the nearby town of Mughir, securing a corridor to Alawite villages in the west of the province.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Assad still confident that he can control Syria
  2. ^ a b c AFP (17 December 2012). "Syria's PM in first Aleppo visit since outbreak of fighting". Al-Arabiya. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Syrian troops capture Karnaz (The News Pakistan)
  4. ^ a b "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "News". Syriahr.com. 
  6. ^ Solomon, Erika (23 December 2012). "Air strike kills dozens of Syrians waiting to buy bread". Reuters. 
  7. ^ "Air strike on Syria bakery 'kills dozens' – Middle East". Al Jazeera. 
  8. ^ SOHR. "Hama Province". Facebook. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c "Syria Live Coverage: A Battle for Hama?". Enduringamerica.com. 18 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Rebels seize towns in central Syria". Reuters. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Rebel gains (3.32 pm GMT)". Middle East Liveblog. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Miller, James. "Syria Live Coverage: The Insurgents Close on Hama". Enduringamerica.com. 2012-12-19.
  13. ^ Karouny, Mariam. "Syrian rebels fight for strategic town in Hama province". Reuters. 
  14. ^ "At least 300 killed in regime airstrike near Syrian bakery". Al Arabiya. 23 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Syria Live Coverage: "94 Killed" in Regime Airstrike on Bakery Queue". Enduringamerica.com. 24 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Syria's top military policeman switches sides". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Hama: 6 people were killed by the airforce bombardment on the town of Kafarnbouda". Facebook. 30 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "Syrian troops regain control of central town in Aleppo". Xinhua News Agency. 31 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Syria backs plans to end conflict". The Nation. Pakistan. 
  20. ^ Moscow Is Sending Planes to Lebanon for 100 Russians Leaving Syria
  21. ^ Syrian government offensive forces thousands to find shelter in caves, cars
  22. ^ Group Says 54 Died in Syria Military Factory Blast
  23. ^ Syria regime retakes town as Damascus clashes rage