2012 Hama offensive
|2012 Hama offensive|
|Part of the Syrian civil war|
Frontlines during and following the offensive
Syrian Government controlOpposition control
|Commanders and leaders|
|~1,000 fighters||2,000 soldiers|
|Casualties and losses|
|132 killed||111 killed|
|90–200 civilians killed|
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.
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.
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. 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. Rebels had advanced 40 kilometres (25 mi) south from Maarrat al-Nu'man and Jisr ash-Shugour, encountering little resistance. It seemed that rebels had overrun army lines north of Hama city within 48 hours. Government positions in Khan Shaykhun and Mhardeh were reportedly under attack by rebel forces.
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.
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. The Syrian Government did agree that many women and children were killed, however they blamed rebel fighters who they say attacked the town.
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.
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.
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.
On 7 February, the military recaptured Kernaz, after 16 days of fighting. 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.
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