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article imageSyrian rebels try to regain some ground lost to Syrian Army

By Ken Hanly     Feb 17, 2020 in Politics
Turkish-supported rebels in Syria have begun a new counter-offensive in Aleppo Province during the weekend to try to regain territory that had been won by the Assad government forces in recent weeks.
The Syrian offensive
The Syrian offensive was originally targeting al-Qaeda but once Turkey intervened Syria attacked rebels in Aleppo as well. Almost the whole of Aleppo Province is now in the hands of the Assad government. The road from Damascus to Aleppo is now unblocked with Syrian forces controlling all parts of it now. With control of this main highway the Syrian Army appears to be on the verge of controlling the whole of Aleppo Province.
Turkey anxious to reverse the Syrian advance
Turkey has warned Russia to stop its bombing missions. The Turks have provided rebels with mortars and rockets to rebel groups with the hope that this will help them with their counter-attacks. In Idlib Governorate itself one of the major groups is linked to al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Many displaced and thousands killed in the conflict
The Russian-backed Syrian offensive has caused 800,000 people to flee the battle areas since December according to the United Nations. The conflict broke out nearly nine years ago and since then more than 380,000 people have been killed.
Turkey angry as Turkish troops are killed
Turkish has troops within Syria itself and also supports the rebels. It was bound in time to suffer casualties as the Assad forces advanced and Russia provided bombing support. 13 Turkish troops were killed over two weeks in Idlib governorate. Turkey urged Russia to stop the attack and warned that it would use military force to drive Syrian forces back unless they withdraw by the end of February. The conflict is in danger of escalating into a direct confrontation between Turkey and Russia.
The Syrian president Assad said in a meeting with Ali Larijani Speaker of the Iranian parliament that Syria was determined to take back all Syrian land from what he called terrorists according to a report in SANA the Syrian state news agency,
Turkey and Russia to hold talks
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at a brief at the Munich Security Conference said that what he called the aggression in Idlib must stop and a lasting ceasefire should be established right away. He added that Turkish and Russian officials would discuss the issue Monday in Moscow.
More about Syrian civil war, Idlib province, Russia Turkey relations
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