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    Syrian regime media says Turkey helped rebel attack

    Zaman A Wasl | 2018-01-12 14:08:01
    Syrian regime media says Turkey helped rebel attack

    (Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian regime forces backed Russian jets have stepped up its aerial campaign stormed northern provinces of Idlib and Hama as rebels’ counter attack inflicted heavy losses among army ranks, local activists said on Friday. 

    The move followed rapid gains by the regime forces who are approaching a sprawling rebel-held air base in the northwestern province from different directions.

    The strikes hit most on the southern countryside side of Idlib and northern countryside of Hama, targeting schools and mosques.

    The recent military escalation in western Syria has included an unprecedented attack by a squadron of drones on Russian military bases and has cast a shadow over Moscow’s efforts to convene a Syria peace congress later this month.

    Nour el-Din al-Zinki rebel groups said on Friday it had shot down a Russian drone north of Hama city.
    Regime-run media cited field commanders as saying Turkey helped anti-government rebels launch a counter attack against the Syrian army and its allies in the northwest this week, underlining recent regional tensions over the fighting.

    “Field commanders confirmed to the SANA correspondent that terrorists from the Turkistan Islamic Party with the direct support, direction and planning of the Turkish regime, brought most of their forces... to start their attack,” said SANA, the state news agency.

    Rebels on Friday said they had captured some 15 villages and seized 60 government fighters, but military source denied to Reuters such news and dismissed rebel talk of a counter attack as propaganda. The source said fierce battles were however underway in the area and army advances were continuing.

    Idlib province is the biggest chunk of Syria still held by rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad, with a population swollen by Syrians who have fled government advances in other parts of the country. Assad has defeated rebels in many parts of western Syria with critical help from Russia and Iran. (With Agencies)

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