As Syria Advances Toward Rebel Stronghold, Syrian Army Retakes More Villages
The Syrian Army has retaken more villages in Idlib as it advances toward the rebel stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun.
Syrian army sources confirmed on Thursday that the Syrian Army retook two villages in the southern Idlib district, following an intense fight with opposition forces in the region.
Russia Today’s (RT) Arabic online news website quoted army officials as saying that the villages were located to the north of Al-Hobait town, south of Idlib district. The website also said on Wednesday that the Syrian army retook four other villages including Ein Kherba, Morshed, Almontar, and Tal-Alaas in the southern countryside region of Idlib.
According to RT, fierce gun battles have ensued on the outskirts of the strategic Al-Hobait village, about 7 kilometers away from the Khan Sheikhoun village, both parts of the Idlib district.
Over the past month, Syrian army forces have intensified attacks in the countryside of both Syria’s Idlib and Hama districts in an attempt to rein in insurgents who belong to the Al-Nusra front, an offshoot of the Islamic State in Levant and Iraq.
Syria’s military forces are said to be attempting to reach the Khan Sheikhoun village, the stronghold of the Al-Nusra front.
Warplane Taken Down
Earlier on Wednesday, opposition fighters belonging to the Al-Nusra front claimed responsibility for bringing down a Syrian Russian-made warplane near Khan Sheikhoun.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the warplane, which had attacked positions of militants, was taken down on the outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun and that the warplane’s pilot was captured by the armed rebels.
The rights group also confirmed the deaths of at least 30 militants during the latest wave of battles between the army of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and opposition fighters in parts of Idlib and the district of Hama.
There are more than 2 million residents in Idlib, but hundreds have recently fled due to an increase in violence. This latest wave of Syrian army attacks on opposition fighters is one more attempt by the Syrian army to eradicate the remaining strongholds of rebels.
Years of Fighting
Since 2011, the Arab Republic of Syria, home to nearly 19 million residents, has lived through a civil war that began after a series of mass protests sprang up, demanding social and economic reforms.
The war has resulted in the deaths hundreds of thousands, while an estimated five million or more have fled the country.
Over the past few years, Russia has provided logistic support to the Syrian regime and has engaged in battles alongside the Syrian army against armed opposition groups across the Arab country.