reprisals from Syrian rebels affiliated with Turkey, fifteen pro-regime fighters killed

On October 27, 2020, smoke billowing from the bombardment by Syrian government forces over the village of Al-Bara, in the southern part of the rebel-held north-western Idlib province.

Very deadly strikes continue in Syria for the second day in a row. Syrian rebels affiliated with Turkey shelled positions of the Damascus regime in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib, killing fifteen loyalist fighters. The attack comes in retaliation for Russian raids that killed dozens in their ranks the day before, an NGO said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Russian air force targeted a training camp of Faylaq al-Cham, a group allied with Turkey, in northwest Idlib, killing 78 of its fighters and wounding more than 90 others near the Turkish border. It was the deadliest escalation in eight months in the Idlib region, Syria’s last major jihadist and rebel stronghold, part of which is still beyond Damascus control.

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The National Liberation Front (FLN), a coalition of rebel groups affiliated with Ankara to which Faylaq al-Cham belongs, vowed revenge in the wake. “Since Monday evening, FLN factions have launched hundreds of rockets and artillery fire at several areas controlled by regime forces in the south and east of Idlib”, as well as in the adjacent provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).

Retaliation against Russia

This shelling has killed fifteen pro-government forces over the past twenty-four hours, the Observatory said.

FLN spokesman Naji Moustafa called the strikes “Immediate and direct response to crime” the day before, telling Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the shots had targeted regime forces, especially in south Idlib and north Hama. “The response will continue and it will be hard and strong”, he hammered, accusing Russia of trying to “Sabotage” the truce in effect in Idlib since last March.

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According to OSDH, regime forces also shelled areas controlled by rebel groups in Idlib and northern Hama. Half of Idlib province as well as segments of the neighboring provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia still escape the control of Damascus, which has repeatedly reiterated its determination to reclaim the entire territory.

This region of northwestern Syria, home to three million people, is dominated by the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Cham but is also home to less influential rebel groups, including those of the FLN.

The truce decreed in March had stopped yet another offensive by the Damascus regime which, accompanied by almost daily strikes by the Syrian and Russian air forces, claimed the lives of more than 500 civilians, according to the OSDH. Launched in 2011, the war in Syria left more than 380,000 dead and forced several million people to flee.

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The World with AFP


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