Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Syrian rebels launch counter-attack in Idlib

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Ben Pena | 13 January, 2018, 09:54

The three countries agreed previous year to establish a "de-escalation zone" in the opposition-held Idlib province and surrounding region, which borders Turkey, but Syrian forces have since launched an offensive in the area.

The Syrian army forces on Thursday foiled a major offensive by militant groups on military positions in the northwestern province of Idlib, state news agency SANA reported, as the foreign ministry denied any targeting of hospitals during a wide-scale military campaign in that key rebel bastion.

Idlib and western parts of neighbouring Aleppo...

Russia's Defence Ministry had asked the Turkish military on Wednesday to tighten control over armed groups in Idlib after two groups of drones attacked Russian bases on January 6.

Idlib province is nearly entirely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist outfit dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate.

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As Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu explained on January 10, Moscow and Tehran, as guarantors of the Syrian peace settlement, should fulfill their commitments under the ceasefire deal and demanded an end to the alleged advance of the government forces in the de-escalation zone.

Idlib's few rebel groups and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham have set aside their differences to fight President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

"With Allah's blessings we drew plans and prepared ourselves and are encircling them", said Abu al Naji, a commander from Tahrir al Sham.

Rebels said they had captured some 15 villages and seized 60 government fighters.

The largest opposition-held area, Idlib has been under attack for many months with Syrian and Iranian forces escalating airstrikes and ground assaults in the past three weeks, resulting in a string of villages being won by the regime.

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