DAMASCUS (Press Shia) – Syria’s military forces recaptured a neighborhood near the western city of Hama from terrorist groups.

After heavy clashes with terrorists on Saturday, the Syrian troops liberated Karraj neighborhood, north of Hama.

Military operations are underway to flush rebels out of the remaining villages in the suburbs of Hama.

Earlier on Saturday, the Syrian army managed to recapture other villages including al-Talisiya, al-Qahira and Tel al-Usud on the outskirts of Hama.

Hama province is of strategic importance to the Syrian Army, as it separates terrorist groups in rebel-controlled Idlib from Damascus to the south and the government-controlled coast to the west.

In 2013, a major push by terrorists to capture Hama was repelled by government forces after reinforcements were sent to the area.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.