Clashes in northwest Syria kill 35 fighters

14 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

BEIRUT: Clashes on the edge of a jihadist bastion in northwestern Syrian have killed 35 fighters in 24 hours, a war monitor said Monday, after weeks of regime bombardment of the region, reports AFP.

The northwestern region has come under increasing fire by the regime and its ally Russia in recent weeks, despite a buffer zone deal intended to shield it from any government offensive.

The region controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, includes most of the Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia provinces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 16 loyalists and 19 jihadists died from Sunday to Monday in clashes in the area of Jabal al-Akrad in Latakia province, which lies on the bastion’s northwestern edge.

Russian and regime aircraft bombarded the area on Monday with missiles and barrel bombs, while they also carried out strikes on southern areas of the region, said the Britain-based war monitor.

Russian air strikes hit a branch of the White Helmets rescue volunteers in the town of Kafranbel, knocking it out of action, the Observatory and a rescue worker said.

“Two high-explosive missiles hit the centre” just minutes after its personnel had headed out to the site of strikes in a nearby village, Oneida Zikra, the civil defence chief for the area, told AFP.