At least ten civilians, including six children, were killed on Tuesday (December 24th) in Russian air strikes on the city of Idleb in northwestern Syria. The Syrian army has been on the offensive there since December 19. Turkey has announced that it is in talks with Russia to obtain a new cease-fire in this province.
With our regional correspondent, Paul Khalifeh
The jihadists and rebel groups close to Turkey launched, on Tuesday, December 24, a counter-offensive in an attempt to curb the progress of the Syrian army , which is only six kilometers from Maarat al-Noumane, the second largest city in the province of Idleb. A jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Tawhid, joined the battle, according to Al-Masdar News .
Reconquest of the Damascus-Aleppo route
But the firepower and the forces engaged by the Syrian army, supported by the Russian aviation, make any counterattack difficult.
To distract, government troops opened a new front on Tuesday east of Idleb, managing to take two new villages. This brings the number of localities reconquered by the Syrian army since Thursday December 19 to 45, an area of 320 square kilometers.
The objective of this new offensive is to take control of the international Damascus-Aleppo highway, which has been closed for almost seven years.
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Since the start of this new offensive, 40,000 civilians have fled their homes north of Idleb. Just this Tuesday, 3,000 residents of Saraqeb, hit by air raids, left their homes in a hurry. Nearly 300 fighters from both sides and dozens of civilians have been killed since the start of the Syrian offensive on Thursday.