Opposition forces in Idlib take back regime-occupied areas

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 01.12.2019 16:59

The Syrian National Army (SNA) and opposition groups have taken back four settlements that were occupied by the Syrian regime in Idlib.

Last September, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression were expressly prohibited. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, consistently broke the terms of this cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone and violating the Astana process.

According to military opposition sources, the SNA regained the southern villages of Aciz, Resim al Varad, Istablat and Suruc after intense clashes with regime forces. During this operation, a tank, a personnel carrier, two multiple rocket launchers and a large number of regime soldiers were eliminated. Reportedly, clashes were ongoing after the four villages were seized. Thereby, the opposition has broken the regime's line of defense in Idlib's southeast and in big settlements.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to some 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-weary country.

During the attacks by the Assad regime along with Russia and Iran-backed groups that intensified in the last month, many schools and hospitals were targeted while 62,000 civilians were displaced in the last four weeks.

In the last two months alone, more than 500 people, 130 of whom are children, were killed in Idlib by attacks of the regime and its supporters.

Apart from civilian casualties, the attacks also caused heavy damages to the buildings. Many schools in the region are now unusable, while others are being used as shelters. Because of this situation, out of 650,000 students in the region, only 300,000 are able to pursue their education. Regime warplanes also targeted Al-Rawda Woman and Child Hospital in Kafr Nabl, leaving the hospital unusable last week.

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