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Syria liberates two villages in Idlib eastern countryside

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian fighters gaze at the courtyard of the museum of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in Idlib Province on January 30, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The Syrian army has retaken control of two villages in the eastern countryside of the northwestern Idlib Province as part of an operation to liberate the last major terrorist-held territory in the Arab country.

Syria's official SANA news agency reported on Saturday that army units had engaged in fierce clashes with foreign-backed Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Louf and Qamhana villages near the city of Saraqib.

The Syrian forces, it added, finally recaptured the two villages and inflicted heavy losses on the Takfiri elements in terms of their personnel and equipment.

Idlib and the area north of Aleppo Province form part of the only large territory in the hands of terrorists after the Syrian military managed to undo militant gains across the country and bring back almost all of Syrian soil under government control.

This week, Syrian troops, backed by Russia's air cover, made rapid advances in Idlib retaking the city of Ma'arat al-Nu'man, which is situated 100 kilometers southwest of the militant-controlled city of al-Bab.

Ankara-backed militants attack govt. positions in Aleppo

In another development on Saturday, Turkish-backed anti-Damascus militants attacked positions held by the Syrian government forces northeast of Aleppo.

Militant sources said that the raid was focused on territory adjacent to al-Bab and that their elements had taken three villages so far.

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fierce attack had been “carried out by factions loyal to Ankara."

Speaking on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country may launch a military operation in Idlib if the ongoing counter-terrorism operation by Syrian government forces continues there.

"Turkey with complete sincerity wants Syria's stability and security, and to this end, we will not shy away from doing whatever is necessary, including using military force," he said.

Erdogan further accused Russia of violating agreements to reduce the fighting in Idlib. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was fully compliant with its obligations in Idlib, which was a haven for militants targeting Syrian troops and a Russian airbase in Syria.

Turkey has intervened militarily in Syria three times to date in cross-border operations with the declared aim of eradicating Kurdish militants and Daesh terrorists near borders.

Damascus has strongly condemned Turkish military operations against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, saying the offensive is a violation of the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions.

Syria has vowed to confront “brutal” Turkish aggression by all legal means.

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