Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Syrian rebels launch counter-attack in Idlib

Syrian rebels launch counter-attack in Idlib

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said on Wednesday that Syrian troops are fighting militants, including members of al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee, in different areas near Abu Zuhour.

However, a government offensive helped by Iran-backed militia has gathered pace in Idlib in the last two weeks, according to rebels and a military media unit run by Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is fighting on the Syrian government side.

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 focus of the offensive has been capturing the Abu al-Duhur military airbase, which the rebels captured back in mid-2015.

In the event, at least one rebel group - this being Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) - has made a decision to re-militarize the Al-Hass area and to this end, the last twelve hours has witnessed the jihadist faction flood southwest Aleppo with reinforcements.

Activists posted two videos on Thursday, the first purports to show a number of Syrian soldiers taken captives by the rebels when they stormed Khalakhel, while the second one showed a warplane crashing over Idlib countryside.

Sixteen jihadists and rebels were killed in the counter-attack as they sought to cut off regime forces at the airport from their rear bases, the Britain-based war monitor said.

The remark comes in the wake of Turkey's decision to summon Russian and Iranian envoys to the country, seeking to cease the Syrian government's violation of de-escalation zone borders in Idlib, claimed by Ankara, reported Sputnik.

The statement also denied the army had targeted civilians or hospitals, as alleged by France.

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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