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Saturday February 15, 2020

Syrian forces continue to advance in the northwest of the country amid escalating tension with Turkey

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The Syrian army continues to advance in the northwest of the country, despite Turkish warnings, as it has regained control of a group of areas that were under the control of jihadists and opposition factions, while Ankara and the factions loyal to it are trying to stand against this progress. Hundreds of thousands were displaced in the area because of the situation in it, while the United Nations earlier warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Chen Syrian regime forces With the support of its Russian ally, an attack since December 2019 in northwestern Syria against the last bastion of jihadists and opposition factions, despite warnings from Ankara, which supports some of them.

The Syrian regime forces continued their progress on Friday, after recovering after “violent battles” with jihadists and opposition factions, the 46th Regiment Regiment, located 12 km west of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. However, Ankara and the groups loyal to it are seeking to block this progress.

The observatory added that Turkish forces were present at that base, but withdrew from it Thursday. He explained that “the Turks withdrew from this base yesterday and during the night there were violent battles with the factions and jihadists. The Turks were there several days ago.”

The observatory indicated that eight civilians, including three children, were killed by the shelling. Five of these civilians were killed by Russian strikes on the town of Maratah, close to Atarib, in Aleppo Governorate.

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The Syrian regime forces, which now control about half of the Idlib area, achieved a new victory, as they recovered a military base that they lost more than seven years ago in the western Idlib governorate.

Shoot down a helicopter for the Syrian army

The group claimed the “National Liberation Front” on Friday evening to shoot down the helicopter of the regime forces in a statement posted on its account in the Telegram network. She said, “The Air Defense Brigade (at the front) targeted a helicopter for the regime forces (…) in the western countryside of Aleppo and was able to shoot it down.”

“One of our military hovercraft was hit by a hostile missile in the western countryside of Aleppo, near Greater Urm, where armed terrorist organizations supported by Turkey are deployed,” the official Syrian news agency (SANA) quoted a military source as saying.

He added that “this led to the fall of the helicopter and the death of its crew”, without specifying its number. The Syrian Observatory had referred to the killing of “two pilots” and the finding of their bodies. The Turkish authorities did not immediately comment as the Anatolia News Agency reported the incident, but gave no details.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday evening that the regime forces and the factions loyal to it “took control of Orum al-Kubra, in the western countryside of Aleppo, after an intense air and artillery preparation.” He added that the fighting killed 14 regime forces, while 19 fighters from the opposition factions were killed.

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Turkey, which supports opposition factions in Syria, is deploying forces in the northwest of the country and has sent reinforcements in recent days to halt the progress of the Syrian government forces.

On Tuesday, a Syrian army helicopter was shot down by a missile, which was also attributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to the Turkish forces in Idlib Governorate, which is adjacent to Aleppo Governorate. For its part, the Turkish media attributed the responsibility of the incident to fighters loyal to Ankara.

More than 800 thousand displaced people

Since December, more than 800,000 people have been displaced by violence in this region, according to the United Nations. More than 380 civilians have been killed since mid-December, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In a joint declaration issued on Friday, four European countries, Estonia, Belgium, Germany and France, requested an immediate cessation of the Syrian army’s attack following an urgent informal meeting of the Security Council at the request of these countries.

“We demand that the parties, especially the Syrian regime and its allies, immediately cease their military offensive, and that they strike a real and lasting ceasefire, ensure that civilians are protected and fully engage in (compliance) with international humanitarian law,” the declaration said.


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