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Syrian regime forces bomb Idlib province as Turkey announces its forces 'neutralized' 20 Kurdish fighters

Syrian regime forces have frequently violated Idlib's ceasefire [Getty Archive]

Date of publication: 25 April, 2020

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The Syrian regime has bombed several areas of Idlib province in violation of a ceasefire as Turkey announced that it had 'neutralized' 20 fighters from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian regime forces on Saturday bombed areas in Idlib province in violation of a ceasefire, while Turkey announced it "neutralized" 20 Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria.

In eastern Syria, forces from the US-led anti-IS coalition made an airdrop in the town of Ghariba al-Sharqiya and arrested two suspected militants from the Islamic State group.

In rebel-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria, local sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that regime forces bombed the areas of Kensafra, Al-Bara, Benin and Kafr Aweid in the south of the province, and targeted a highway junction near Nairab in eastern Idlib.

Regime forces have bombed this area on a daily basis recently, despite a ceasefire deal reached in March. It is believed that the aim of the bombing is to prevent displaced people returning to their homes in the area.

More than a million people were displaced in a bloody regime campaign against Idlib province, which began last November and ended with the March ceasefire deal, which was sponsored by Turkey and Russia.

Regarding the situation in northern Syria, the Turkish defence ministry said that it had "neutralized" 20 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces, saying that they had tried to infiltrate the "safe zone" along the Turkish-Syrian border which Turkey had set up last October.

"As a result of PKK's harassment fire to our military base in northern Iraq, Haftanin region, one Turkish solider was martyred, three of our soldiers were wounded in the heinous attack. 12 PKK terrorists have been neutralized in the region," said the defence ministry on Twitter.

In October 2019, Turkey launched "Operation Peace Spring" against Kurdish militias along the Syrian-Turkish border, driving them away from a 32-kilometre strip along the Turkish-Syrian border, with the support of Syrian proxy fighters.

The Turkish defence ministry and the Turkish Anadolu news agency which reported the news did not specify what it meant by "neutralization", failing to say whether the Kurdish militia fighters had been killed, captured, or wounded.

This is the largest number of fighters which the Turkish defence ministry has announced that it had "neutralized" since March, when it said that 50 SDF fighters had been neutralized in various parts of Syria.

In eastern Syria, airborne coalition forces landed in the town Al-Gharib al-Sharqiya, near Deir el-Zour, early on Saturday morning, and captured two people believed to be members of Islamic State, according to the Syrian news site Deirezzor24.

The website did not give the name of the two people, but coalition aerial operations of this kind usually target high-ranking members of IS.

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