Syrian troops overrun Saraqeb despite Turkish warnings

Damascus- Saturday: Syrian troops have taken control of a planned northwestern crossroads city, is a major victory in offense against the country’s main rebel bastion of Idlib after weeks’ long struggle.
The Saraqeb move came immediately after turkey launched more troops into the region and warned to respond if any of its military surveillance posts in Idlib is attacked as per the 2018 ceasefire.
The state television reported “Army units now exercise full control over the town of Saraqeb” with footage of the streets abandoned after weeks of the onslaught.
The government forces have started an intense attack against Idlib since December. The Russian-backed government recapturing town after town; despite the word of warnings from insurgent ally turkey to retreat.
More than 300 citizens killed in the violence, and around 586,000 civilians drove out on to the roads, seeking safety near the Turkish borders.
The aid groups and UN have called for ending hostilities and coming back to negotiations.
However, president basher al Assad’s troops have pushed their advancement.
The capture of Saraqeb is a win for the government as it wants to take back the authority of the M4 and M5 highways that join in the town.
M5 is the longest Syrian highway, which connects the second city Aleppo to Damascus and extends till the Jordanian border in the south.
The Syrian Observatory for human rights, based in Britain said “government forces were in control of the whole of the M5 in Idlib province” except a 15 km section, southwest of Aleppo’s city is in rebel control.
According to the observatory “The regime on Saturday was poised to recapture larger swathes of the road after it overran the area of Al-Eis in the south of Aleppo province following battles with rebels and jihadists”.
The observatory says “Just a few months ago, Saraqeb counted some 110,000 residents”.
However, weeks of noxious attacks by the government along with its ally Russia forced much of the inhabitants in the town to flee towards northwards across the Turkish border.
About three million people, with half of them as displaced but the devastating Syrian war, are grouping in leftover rebel territory.
According to observatory estimates “Some 50,000 fighters are holed up in the shrinking pocket, many of them jihadists but the majority allied rebels”.
Little more than half of the Idlib region is under rebel control as Saraqeb is recaptured.
Turkey fears another influx as it hosts more than 3.7 million Syrian refugees already, has requested Damascus to close down its operation in Idlib.
Clashes between them started on Monday following unusual burst out among the regime and Turkish troops in Idlib slaughtered more than 20 people from both sides.
Turkey has since backed northwestern Syria, forcing Damascus to lay blame on Ankara of attempting to impede its progress.
Turkey has since sent reinforcement into northwestern Syria, prompting Damascus to accuse Ankara of trying to hamper its move forward.
Ankara has sent more than 350 motor vehicles along with commandos and armaments to augment its observation posts in Idlib since Friday, as per Turkish news agency.–Worldwide News

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