Middle East

Turkish shelling kills nine Syrian forces in northwestern Idlib

A Turkish shelling has reportedly killed nine Syrian forces in the northwestern Idlib province, where the Syrian army is fighting Ankara-backed militants to retake the last stronghold of terrorists, a London-based monitoring group said.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Monday five Syrian forces lost their lives near the town of Saraqeb while the others died near the town of Nayrab.

It added that militants backed by Turkey also retook control of Nayrab and fired at Syrian government forces in the town of Sarmin.

Saraqeb, which lies at the intersection of the M4 and another important highway the M5, has been under the government’s control since Feb. 8.

The fighting that raged on Monday killed almost 100 fighters on both sides around the militant-dominated bastion, the SOHR said.

Those included 41 forces allied to the Syrian army as well as 53 terrorists.

The clashes came after the Syrian Army and its allied forces regained control of eight more villages as they make further advances in the south of Idlib countryside.

The government forces also inflicted heavy losses on Nusra Front terrorists and their affiliates.

The army’s advances were followed by the discovery of a vast network of tunnels, heavy weapons, and fortified dens belonging to the terrorists.

Idlib remains a flashpoint amid Turkey’s increased military presence in the region. The latest gain marks another step in the government’s advance against foreign-backed militants.

Syria has launched a major campaign to liberate Idlib which is considered to be the last stronghold of the militant groups.

-Turkish shelling

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