Offensives by the Syrian army and its allies backed by Russian air strikes are going more slowly than expected due to increased Saudi support to rebels, senior sources close to the Syrian government said, as the insurgents pressed a counter attack on Friday.

Rebels captured the village of Atshan in Hama province, the second setback for the government and its allies in that area in as many days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rebels said. The nearby town of Morek fell to rebels on Thursday.

Backed by Russian air strikes, the Syrian army and allies including the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have launched several offensives in areas vital to President Bashar al-Assad’s control of western Syria. […]