Monday 26 August 2019

Syrian regime gains ground from rebel forces as Russian-backed army advances

Struggling: Turkish-backed Syrian fighters gather on a roof in Tadef, in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Struggling: Turkish-backed Syrian fighters gather on a roof in Tadef, in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Tom Perry in Beirut

Syrian government forces seized territory from insurgents in north-western Syria yesterday, state media and a war monitor said, building on advances since the military declared an end to a brief ceasefire earlier this week.

The capture of al-Sakhr in northern Hama province followed the capture of two villages on Wednesday. The Russian-backed army operations resumed on Monday after the government accused Turkey of not abiding by its commitments in the truce.

"The regime is advancing in a studied way," said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict. Government forces were nearing the rebel-held towns of Latamneh, Kafr Zayta and al-Habeet, he added.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces have struggled to make significant gains in more than three months of military operations in the north-west, the last major foothold of rebel groups, some of which are backed by Turkey.

Air strikes and bombardment of the rebel-held area by the Syrian government and Russian forces have uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and killed at least 450 civilians since late April, the UN has said.

The Syrian government had said it would agree to the ceasefire on the condition that militants fulfilled a Russian-Turkish deal last year which aimed to create a demilitarised zone.

Irish Independent

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