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  • Syrian Military in Full Control of Northwestern Syria Highway

    | Photo: Xinhua

Published 11 February 2020

Tuesday's advance for the Syrian government forces marks the first time since 2012 that they have had full control over this important highway. 

The Syrian government forces established full control over a highway in northwest Syria for the first time since 2012 on Tuesday, as talks ended between Turkey and Russia on stopping clashes that killed 13 Turkish soldiers in a week.

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The Syrian military established full control over the main highway linking Damascus and Aleppo, also known as the M-5, after launching a large-scale offensive in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib at the start of the new year.

Syrian forces seized the entire length of the M5 after driving rebels from their last foothold on the road, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said.

Those forces, backed by Russia and Iran, took control of the highway after capturing a western suburb of Aleppo from insurgents as the government intensified its campaign to capture the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria’s nearly nine-year-old war.

Last week, government troops recaptured Saraqeb, a strategic crossroads town where the M-5 intersects with a main west-east highway.

The latest advances by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces come after 13 Turkish troops were killed in the northwestern Idlib region over the past week, prompting some of the most serious confrontations between Ankara and Damascus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday that his government's forces attacked 115 Syrian military targets in Idlib, destroying at least 101 of them. 

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