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Armed factions thwart regime incursion in eastern Idlib: commander

Local | 2020-01-19 12:51:42
Armed factions thwart regime incursion in eastern Idlib: commander
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian armed factions have thwarted an incursion by regime forces into strategic hilltops in northern Idlib region, rebel commander told Zaman al-Wasl Sunday.

The regime army backed by allied militias was pushing to take the hilltops of Khatra and Mosaitef but the three-hour clashes halted their advance, according to Naji Mustaf, commander in the National Front.

More than 20 forces, including 2 officers, were killed, Mustafa added.

On Saturday, Russian air strike killed five civilians, including four members of the same family, in the village of Bala.

The strike created a massive crater of rubble near a two-storey home flanked by an empty outdoor swimming pool, the AFP said.

Fighting there since Wednesday has killed 28 civilians including eight children, according to the Observatory.

It also took the lives of 58 pro-regime fighters and 67 fighters most of them jihadists, it added.

The Idlib region has witnessed an uptick in violence this week, as the Syrian government presses a deadly offensive despite a ceasefire arranged by its Russian ally and rebel backer Turkey.

Syria's Response Coordinators group, local monitoring, said at least 2,900 families have fled the southern and western countryside of Aleppo in the past 72 hours.

Around 350,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled a renewed Russian-backed offensive in the opposition-held Idlib province since early December, and have sought shelter in border areas near Turkey, the United Nations said Thursday.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called Friday for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Idlib, saying that the latest Syrian ceasefire had "yet again failed to protect civilians".

"It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground," Bachelet said in a statement on the ceasefire, which was due to be implemented nearly a week ago.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he would discuss the latest attacks in northwestern Syria on Sunday with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Syria's war has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced more than half the country's population since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests. Agencies, Zaman Al Wasl

Zaman Al Wasl
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