DAMASCUS, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army is working to cut all rebels' supply routes in a triangle of countryside areas in northern Syria, a pro-government newspaper reported on Sunday.
The al-Watan newspaper said the army is following the tactic of draining the rebels to sap their resolve and weaken them in the countryside areas of the provinces of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo in northern Syria.
It said cutting the rebels' supply routes in these areas is the tactic that is taken now amid feverish attempts by the rebels to restore what they have recently lost.
Citing military sources, the newspaper said the air defenses of the Syrian army shot down a rebel drone outfitted with missiles in Hama.
It said that the Syrian warplanes also targeted positions of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in the northern countryside of Hama and areas in the southern and southeastern countryside of Idlib.
The military source was cited by al-Watan as saying that the Syrian airstrikes were conducive in cutting the supply routes of the rebels and inflicting hefty losses on them.
The Syrian warplanes are also expanding their airstrikes to target areas in the depth of rebel-held areas in the western and southwestern countryside of Aleppo province, said the report.
The Syrian and Russian airstrikes also targeted weapon depots of the Nusra Front west of Aleppo, said the report, adding that weapons' shipments were also targeted as the rebels were sending them from Aleppo to Hama countryside.
The newspaper said the army has a bank of targets that includes rebel positions in the Hama and Idlib countryside.
Areas in the countryside of Hama, Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo are included in the de-escalation zones deal which was reached between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.
The deal failed to materialize as the al-Qaida-linked groups expanded in Idlib and started attacks on Syrian military positions instead of withdrawing from the designated zone which combines Idlib with Hama and Aleppo countryside as well as mountain areas in the eastern countryside of Latakia province.