2019-08-21 Syria-Lebanon-Iran||Anti-Assad fighters withdraw from key area of northwest Syria: Monitor
[AlAhram] Jihadists and allied rebels withdrew from a key area of northwestern Syria Tuesday as Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
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Scourge of Qusayr...
's forces pressed an offensive against the jihadist-run Idlib region, a war monitor said.
The fighters pulled back from the town of Khan Sheikun and the countryside to its south overnight and in the early hours of Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The withdrawal means an important
Ottoman Turkish observation point in the nearby town of Morek is effectively surrounded by government forces, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
On Monday, a
Ottoman Turkish military convoy crossed the border into the Idlib region, sparking condemnation from Damascus as Ankara alleged air strikes had targeted its troops.
The convoy halted just north of Khan Sheikhun on Monday afternoon and remained there on Tuesday, after government forces took control of a section of the highway into the town.
Pro-government newspaper al-Watan said Monday morning's strike targeted a rebel vehicle scouting the road in front of the
Ottoman Turkish convoy.
"The Syrian army in its own way sent a clear message to the
Ottoman Turkish regime by forcing convoys sent by Ankara to help the bandidos forces of Evil in Khan Sheikhun to come to a halt," it said.
It was a "clear warning against any
Ottoman Turkish attempt to resuscitate the terrorists," the paper said, adding that the strike had "Russian support".
After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with
The Sick Man of Europe Turkey
...the only place on the face of the earth that misses the Ottoman Empire...
is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashir al-Assad's regime.
Since January, it has been administered by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly al-Nusra, before that it was called something else
...al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, from which sprang the Islamic State...
alliance, which is led by jihadists from Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate.
The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people since the rebels first took arms following the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
Rival interventions by outside powers have turned it into a complex conflict with multiple battle fronts that has driven millions of civilians from their homes.
Syria, however, said the
Ottoman Turkish convoy was carrying ammunition to rebels who have lost ground this month amid a government offensive to retake their last stronghold in the country.
The incident ratcheted up tensions in the region, a current ground zero in Syria’s long-running civil war in which
Ottoman Turkish, Russian, US and Iranian interests are fighting.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry said the convoy of armoured vehicles was delivering weapons to Khan Sheikhoun, a major rebel-held town that lies on the front line of fighting along the southern edge of the Idlib enclave. The town is a stronghold of Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly al-Nusra, before that it was called something else, the most powerful bully boy group in the area.
It was not immediately clear whether the air strikes were carried out by Syrian or Russian warplanes. The convoy consisted of several armoured vehicles and flatbed trucks carrying tanks.
Ottoman Turkish move into Idlib appears to be a message by Ankara that it won’t allow Syrian forces to capture Khan Sheikhoun. Syrian government forces reached its outskirts earlier on Monday. The town’s fall would also cut the highway linking Idlib to northern parts of Hama province, home to one of Turkey’s 12 observation posts on the edges of Idlib province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, and Idlib-based opposition activist Mazen al-Shami, reported that Syrian troops reached the M5 highway north of Khan Sheikhoun, making it more difficult for rebels and civilians to move between Idlib and rebels in northern parts of Hama province.
Under a deal reached last year between Russia and Turkey, the highway was supposed to be open by the end of 2018 but it never happened. Now, Syrian troops appear to be trying to open it by force.
Al Nusra says still has fighters in Khan Sheikhoun
[Ynet] A Syrian jihadist group said on Tuesday rebel fighters had redeployed in the southern part of the town of Khan Sheikhoun and still controlled towns in adjoining area of Hama province, after a war monitor said insurgents had withdrawn from the area.
"After ferocious bombardment by the criminal enemy forces ... the mujahideen last night repositioned in the south of Khan Sheikhoun town with the southern part still under the control of the mujahideen," the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group said in a statement distributed on its Telegram channel.
|Posted by trailing wife 2019-08-21 00:00||
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