As­sad forces make ‘sig­nif­i­cant gains’ in Syria

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Syr­ian forces backed by Hezbol­lah mil­i­tants from Le­banon are said to have made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances against rebels af­ter heavy Rus­sian air strikes.

Gov­ern­ment gains are be­ing re­ported in Idlib, Hama and Latakia prov­inces.

Rus­sia says its air­craft car­ried out more than 60 mis­sions over Syria in the past 24 hours, and that the Is­lamic State group was its main tar­get.

But the Rus­sian strikes ap­pear to have im­pacted heav­ily on rebels fight­ing both the gov­ern­ment and IS.

The main bat­tle­front is cur­rently close to the key high­way that links the cap­i­tal Damascus with other ma­jor cities, in­clud­ing Aleppo, and Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s forces are be­lieved to be seek­ing to cut off rebels in Idlib.

Be­fore Rus­sia’s in­ter­ven­tion, Idlib had all but fallen to a rebel coali­tion that had been se­ri­ously threat­en­ing Mr As­sad and his heart­land as well as fight­ing IS, BBC Arab af­fairs editor Se­bas­tian Usher re­ports.

The gov­ern­ment gains were re­ported both by Damascus and op­po­si­tion ac­tivists.

Rus­sia says its strikes, which be­gan on 30 Septem­ber, have been closely co-or­di­nated with the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment. Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said on Sun­day that the strikes were the ex­e­cu­tion of “pre­vi­ously drawn plans”.

“We per­sis­tently con­ducted re­con­nais­sance, for a long pe­riod, from space and from the air,” he told the Ros­siya 24 news chan­nel.

The Kun­duz strike killed at least 22 peo­ple

Rebel fight­ers have been dig­ging in in Hama province in the face of the gov­ern­ment ad­vance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.