POST TIME: 26 February, 2020 03:00:55 AM
Turkish shelling kills 9 regime personnel in NW Syria
AFP, Beirut

Turkish shelling kills 9 regime personnel in NW Syria

A picture taken yesterday shows damaged homes in the village of al-Nayrab, about 14 kilometres southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, after Turkish-backed rebels seized the village from regime forces. AFP Photo

Turkish shelling Monday killed nine regime fighters in northwest Syria, where Ankara-backed rebels are fighting off advancing regime forces, a monitor said.

Syrian regime forces have since December clawed back parts of the last major opposition bastion of Idlib in violence that has displaced almost a million people.

Fighting raged on Monday, killing almost 100 fighters on both sides around the jihadist-dominated bastion, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Those included 41 pro-regime fighters, as well as 53 jihadists and allied rebels.

Overall on Monday, the regime advanced rapidly in the south of the bastion, but lost the town of Nayrab along the M4 highway to Turkish-backed rebels in the southeast. Turkish shelling in that area killed four regime fighters near Nayrab and another five near the town of Saraqeb to its east, the Britain-based Observatory said.

Opposition fighters had already broken back into Nayrab last week after the regime seized it at the start of the month, but then lost it again several hours later.

Saraqeb, which lies at the intersection of the M4 and another important highway the M5, has been under regime control since February 8. Earlier Monday, Russian air strikes killed five civilians in the Jabal al-Zawiya area in the south of the bastion, the Observatory said.

In fighting on the ground, regime forces seized 10 towns and villages south of the M4, which links the coastal regime stronghold of Latakia to government-held second city Aleppo, it said.