On Monday, the Syrian Army and allies launched an operation against armed rebel groups holding-out in an enclave stretching across the countryside of northern Homs and southern Hama provinces – also known as the Rastan pocket.

The offensive is aimed at both attacking the Hayat Tahrir al Sham directly as well as pressuring other rebel groups (mostly linked to the Free Syrian Army) to demand the withdrawal of the jihadists from the pocket.

On Tuesday, rebel fighters and civilians in Al Rastan town expelled Hayat Tahrir al Sham militants from the settlement at its surrounding countryside and threatened to kill them if they returned.

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