Clashes kill 71 fighters in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib
Regime and jihadist-led forces were locked in clashes yesterday on the edge of an opposition bastion in northwest Syria after a jihadist-led advance that killed 71 fighters overnight, a monitor said.
Russian and regime aircraft have ramped up their deadly bombardment of the Idlib region -- administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and home to some three million people -- since late April, despite a months-old international truce deal.
Clashes have also raged on the edges of the region, including in the north of Hama province.
Late Wednesday, HTS and allied rebels took control of Hamameyat village and hilltop, in clashes that killed 41 regime fighters and 30 fighters within the insurgents’ own ranks, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The fighting is ongoing as regime planes and artillery pound the area,” the head of the Britain-based monitor Rami Abdel Rahman said yesterday morning.
HTS spokesman Abu Khaled al-Shami said the jihadist and rebel fighters attacked after dark, taking control of the “heavily fortified” hill from fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Naji Mustafa, a spokesman for the allied National Liberation Front rebel grouping, said: “The hill is very strategic because it overlooks... supply routes to enemy forces.”
Russian air strikes killed one civilian in the town of Latmaneh and rebel artillery fire took the life of one woman in the regime-held area of Karnaz, the Observatory said.
Meanwhile, a car bomb near a checkpoint manned by Turkey-backed rebels in the northern Syrian city of Afrin killed 13 people including eight civilians yesterday, the war monitor said.