Syria's Warring Sides Face Off in Town East of Idlib City

A group of Syrian civilians look over the border wall and into Turkey from Idlib province Syria on February 2. More than a half-million Idlib residents have attempted to flee fighting over the last several weeks

Syria's Warring Sides Face Off in Town East of Idlib City

On Wednesday, they broke into Saraqeb, which lies at the crossroads of two key highways criss-crossing Idlib province, the last major rebel bastion in Syria.

The Syrian army in a statement accused the Turks of obstructing its advance and "impeding it from completely stamping out the organised terrorism besieging civilians in Idlib province".

Erdogan said two of Turkey's 12 observation posts, set up around a "de-escalation zone" in northwest Syria's Idlib region as part of a 2017 agreement with Russian Federation and Iran, were now behind Syrian government front lines.

Since 17 September 2018, the attacks of the Syrian regime have killed more than 1,800 civilians and led to the displacement of 1.677 million Syrians who are stationed near the Turkish-Syrian borders.

According to the Syrian-state run news agency (SANA), a source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 5 February that "Adana agreement aims to maintain cooperation between the two countries".

"We conveyed our determination to our Russian counterparts", he said, adding that Ankara was determined to stem the "humanitarian drama" in Idlib which Turkey says has displaced almost 1 million people.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Istanbul, Jan. 8, 2020.

The renewed struggle takes place despite the ceasefire agreement of January 12 between Turkey and Russian Federation.

In may 2017 Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation announced the creation in Syria of the four zones of de-escalation.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that the violence had forced 53 medical facilities in northwest Syria to close in January and warned of "critical health threats" to fleeing civilians.

"The United States supports Turkey, our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, in facing these attacks", he affirmed, offering condolences to the Turkish government for the death of its citizens.

"The exodus of people is staggering, and tens of thousands more are joining them every day", he said. In a joint statement on Thursday, they said the attacks should stop.

Intensive aerial bombardment and ground fighting in the militant-dominated Idlib region since December have killed nearly 300 civilians and triggered one of the largest waves of displacement in the nine-year war.

Early on Thursday, Syrian air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles over Damascus that were fired at military targets in southern Syria including near the capital, the Syrian Defense Ministry said.

The pre-dawn attacks by Israeli warplanes were launched in two waves, one near Damascus and another near Deraa and Quneitra provinces, it said.

The Observatory said the strikes killed 23 Syrian and non-Syrian fighters aligned with Assad.

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