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Syrian army advances in fierce battles against militants in Idlib

This photo, taken on February 14, 2020, shows Syrian government forces combing al-Rashideen 4 area, west of Aleppo, northwestern Syria, for hidden improvised explosive devices and landmines. (Photo by SANA)

Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have advanced in the battles against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib, wresting full control over a number of villages.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian soldiers and their allies managed to recapture the towns of Urum al-Kubrah and Kafr Naya, which lie in the Atarib district of the province, as well as Jamiyah al-Radwan area on Saturday following bitter clashes with members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, and their affiliates.

Syrian army close to Turkish-controlled air base in Idlib

Meanwhile, the Syrian army is now a few kilometers away from Taftanaz air base, which lies 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) south of the northwestern Syrian town of Taftanaz. 

An unnamed source at the 25th Special Mission Forces Division told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Syrian government forces have liberated the strategic town of Ma'arrat al-Na'san amid heavy artillery and missile attacks on militant positions in the area.

The source added that dozens of Takfiri terrorists were killed or wounded in the process, and a number of their vehicles were destroyed as well.

‘Turkey supplying militants in Idlib with weapons’

 Meanwhile, a Russian military diplomatic source said on Saturday that Turkey is actively deploying soldiers, weapons and military equipment to Idlib province, handing over a great proportion of the weapons to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants.

The source said Turkey has brought more than 70 tanks, about 200 armored vehicles and 80 cannons into Idlib, Russia's RT Arabic television news network reported.

He pointed out that the militants could have obtained a portable US-made anti-aircraft system from Turkey, expressing worries over the Takfiris’ use of such armament especially as two Syrian army helicopters were shot down in Idib this week.

The source added that it is of particular concern that Ankara has provided militants in the Idlib de-escalation zone with Turkish military uniforms.

Over the past four years, the Turkish military has staged at least two unauthorized invasions into northern Syria to push back against Kurdish militants, which Ankara accuses of harboring subversive intentions against the Turkish administration.

Syria has denounced the invasions, saying it would respond in kind if the need arose.

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