International

Syrian Army overruns strategic town in Idlib

Two major highways meet in Saraqeb

The Syrian Army took control of the strategic northwestern crossroads town of Saraqeb on Saturday in the latest gain in an offensive against the country’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib.

The advance came shortly after Turkey sent additional troops into the region and threatened to respond if any of its military observation posts in Idlib, set up under a 2018 truce, come under attack.

“Army units now exercise full control over the town of Saraqeb,” state television reported, over footage of the town’s streets, deserted after weeks of bombardment.

Since December, government forces have pressed a blistering assault against the Idlib region with Russian support, retaking town after town despite warnings from rebel ally Turkey to back off.

Flight of civilians

The violence has killed more than 300 civilians and sent some 5,86,000 fleeing civilians onto the roads, seeking relative safety nearer the Turkish border.

Saraqeb is a strategic prize for the government it seeks to take back control of two major highways that meet in the town. The M5 motorway connects the capital to second city Aleppo. Running up from the Jordanian border in the south, it is Syria’s longest highway.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:57:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/syrian-army-overruns-strategic-town-in-idlib/article30771882.ece

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