Syria opposition launch new offensive against regime in Idlib

Syria opposition launch new offensive against regime in Idlib

Syria opposition launch new offensive against regime in Idlib

Idlib province is the biggest chunk of Syria still held by rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, with a population swollen by Syrians who have fled government advances in other parts of the country.

Turkey and NGOs have warned of a new humanitarian disaster in Syria with the regime offensive on Idlib, the last province in rebel hands.

"We are witnessing a clear intensification of Russia's military strategy, with systematic attacks on civilian facilities perpetrated with total disregard for worldwide law", warns Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairperson of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

"Regime forces are striking moderate opposition with the pretext of fighting against Al-Nusra (Front)", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, referring to the former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

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.

The presence of militants within southwest Aleppo is confirmed by the fact that Syrian army-led forces advancing towards government positions in eastern Idlib via Khanasser have encountered resistance from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham fighters.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said regime forces were able to enter Abu Duhur airbase under air cover and were engaged in fierce fighting with the jihadists.

It added that the rebels had used Turkish vehicles.

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

The Russian Ministry of Defense had previously insinuated the United States had helped.

The Observatory said Thursday that 96 civilians have been killed since the military campaign on Idlib and Hama countrysides started on Dec.25.

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