Syrian State Media: Turkey Helped Rebel Counterattack in Idlib
Syrian State Media: Turkey Helped Rebel Counterattack in Idlib
Thousands of Terrorists Arrive in Idlib to Slow down Syrian Army Advances
14 January, 2018, 15:59
Almost three million people are believed to be in the Idlib region, their numbers swelled by fighters and civilians who fled Syrian army advances elsewhere in the country.
Regime forces backed by Russian warplanes launched an offensive on December 25 in Idlib province, the last in the country that remained fully outside the government's control.
A military media unit run by the Assad regime's Lebanese ally Hezbollah, and a Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Friday the army had recaptured several villages taken in the rebel counterattack.
Idlib province is nearly entirely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist outfit dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate.
Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by the Nusra Front, the dominant force in Idlib, said it had already made gains.
On Wednesday, 35 soldiers were killed at the airport, according to the Observatory.
The regime hopes to seize control of southeast parts of Idlib province to secure a main road between the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo.
The fighting and air strikes have forced more than 60,000 people to leave their homes since November 1, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The Syrian government hit back on Thursday against French criticism of its military campaign in rebel-held Idlib, saying it was targeting terrorist groups that were not party to an agreement to reduce fighting in the rebel-held region.
The region is located within one of the so-called de-escalation zones demarcated by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, where fighting was expected to cease.
Turkey on Tuesday summoned the Russian and Iranian ambassadors to Ankara in order to convey its "uneasiness" about their actions in Idlib.
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