Regime Forces Advance Towards Key Town In Northwest Syria


Regime forces advance towards key town in northwest Syria

Beirut, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Aug, 2019 ) :Regime fighters pushed further into a jihadist-run bastion in northwest Syria Wednesday, inching towards a key town after months of deadly bombardment, a monitor said.

Eight years into Syria's civil war, the jihadist-run region of Idlib is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Air strikes and rocket fire by the regime and its ally Russia have pounded Idlib for more than three months, killing hundreds and displacing tens of thousands.

In the south of the stronghold, almost all residents of Khan Sheikhun -- which lies on a key highway coveted by the regime -- have left the town.

The road in question runs through Idlib, connecting government-held Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, which was retaken by loyalists from rebels in December 2016.

After a week of ground advances, Assad's fighters were just a few kilometres away from the town on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Regime forces are now four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Khan Sheikhun to the west, with nothing between them and it but fields," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

To the east, pro-Assad fighters are battling to control a hill just six kilometres (less than four miles) from the town, the head of the Britain-based Observatory said.

Clashes on Wednesday have killed 14 regime forces, as well as 20 jihadists and seven allied rebels, he said.

State news agency SANA on Wednesday said army troops had taken several villages from the jihadists and rebels in the area west of Khan Sheikhun.

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