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Syrian fighter jets strike militant positions in southern edge of Idlib

Syrian fighter jets have carried out a string of airstrikes against the positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the southern part of the country’s northwestern province of Idlib.

On Sunday, the Syrian aircraft pounded militant bases in the towns of Khan Shaykhun, al-Tamanah, Hass, Madaya, Kafrsajna, Rakaya Sijneh, and Hazarin as well as Hish.

Earlier in the day, Syrian army troops struck militant strongholds in Qasabiyeh village of Maarrat al-Nu'man district in response to a barrage of missiles fired by militants at government-controlled sites in the area.

Separately, Syrian army units managed to establish control over Hobait town on the southern edge of Idlib province.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the capture of the town came at dawn after a night of deadly fighting.

The Britain-based war monitor group noted that the progress will enable the Syrian army to advance toward Khan Shaykhun, which lies 11 kilometers east of Hobait and serves as one of the important militant strongholds in Idlib.

The development will allow the Syrian army to tighten the noose around foreign-backed terrorists in the northern countryside of the western-central province of Hama, which is adjacent to the southern part of Idlib.

On August 5, the Syrian army declared in a statement the start of an offensive against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the country's northwestern province of Idlib, after Takfiris positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.

“Even though the Syrian Arab Army declared a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone of Idlib on August 1, armed terrorist groups, backed by Turkey, refused to abide by the ceasefire and launched many attacks on civilians in surrounding areas,” SANA cited a statement released by the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces.

“The Turkish regime’s persistence in allowing its terrorist pawns in Idlib to carry out attacks proves that Ankara is maintaining its destructive approach and is ignoring its commitments as per the Sochi agreement. This has emboldened terrorists to fortify their positions, and led to the spread of the threat of terrorism across the Syrian territory,” the statement added.

The Syrian military’s statement came a day after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would launch a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area in northern Syria.

Under the Sochi agreement, all militants in the demilitarized zone that surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17 last year, and Takfiri groups had to withdraw two days earlier.

The National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant alliance in Idlib region, but the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

The HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib Province, has yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.

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