You are here

Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces — monitor

By AFP - Jun 16,2019 - Last updated at Jun 16,2019

This photo, taken on Friday, shows a man walking amidst the debris of destroyed buildings in the town of Ihsim, in Syria’s Idlib region (AFP photo)

BEIRUT — At least 35 combatants including 26 pro-regime forces were killed Saturday in clashes and air strikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said.

The flare-up came as regime forces tried to retake two villages seized by extremists and allied rebels earlier this month, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Since this morning, the Syrian regime and allied fighters have launched five failed attempts to regain control of Jibine and Tal Maleh in northwestern Hama province," said observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman. 

Syrian regime and Russian air strikes killed nine extremists and rebel fighters, the war monitor said.

Ensuing clashes in the north of Hama province left 26 pro-regime forces dead, including eight who were killed in a mine explosion, the observatory said. 

The Idlib region of some three million people is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.

But it was never fully implemented, as extremists refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarised zone.

In January, the Hayat Tahrir Al Sham alliance led by Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate extended its administrative control over the region, which includes most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

Turkey said Friday that it did not accept Russia's "excuse" that it had no ability to stop the Syrian regime's continued bombardments in the last rebel bastion of Idlib.

"In Syria, who are the regime's guarantors? Russia and Iran," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state news agency Anadolu in a televised interview.

"Thus we do not accept the excuse that 'We cannot make the regime listen to us'," he said.

His comments came as Turkey disagreed with Russia earlier this week after Moscow claimed a new ceasefire had been secured in the province following weeks of regime bombardments — a claim that was denied by Ankara. 

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.

Russia launched a military intervention in support of the regime in 2015, helping its forces reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and extremists.

up
33 users have voted.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.