World, Middle East

Assad regime, Daesh target Syria’s Idlib: Local source

With Russian and Iranian support, Daesh registers gains near Idlib, opposition source tells Anadolu Agency

Assad regime, Daesh target Syria’s Idlib: Local source FILE PHOTO - Syria’s northern province of Idlib. ( Ahmed Rahhal - Anadolu Agency )

By Burak Karacaoglu, Levent Tok and Esref Musa

IDLIB, Syria

Syria’s Assad regime and the Daesh terrorist group have continued to strike opposition positions northwest of the northern city of Idlib, according to a local opposition source.

Mohamed Rashid, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr group (which fights under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army), said Daesh had captured several villages in Hama province (south of Idlib) from the armed opposition, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an anti-regime militant group.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Rashid said that Daesh -- with the support of Russia, Iran and the Assad regime -- had also been striking positions in Idlib.

As part of these ongoing operations, he added, regime forces had recently approached the Abu al-Duhur airport while Daesh forces had advanced into northeastern Hama.

With air support provided by Russia, Rashid said, these advances had served to cut the opposition’s lines of defense.

During peace talks held in Kazakh capital Astana on Dec. 21 and 22 -- brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- opposition delegates reported how the Assad regime and Daesh were carrying out coordinated attacks on opposition forces.

Turkey, meanwhile, has recently said that Assad regime forces were targeting the moderate opposition on the pretext that they were fighting terrorist groups.

Such a policy, Turkish officials warned, threatened to undermine the political process in Syria.

On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Iran and Russia to fulfill their responsibilities as “guarantor states” of Syria’s political process.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

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