46 Syrian service members have been killed and 77 were wounded in recent clashes with radical militants in Greater Idlib in the period from January 16 to January 19, the Russian Reconciliation Center reported. According to the report, 57 civilians were killed and 116 others were injured as a result of attacks and shelling by militants.
On January 19, the Syrian Army repelled a large attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies on the town of Abu Dafn. According to pro-government sources, the army lost several armoured vehicles. The Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL), a key ally of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, militants damaged a battle tank and an infantry fighting vehicle, and destroyed an artillery piece belonging to the army. The NFL also claimed that dozens army troops were killed and injured. Earlier, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham recaptured the areas of Tell Khatrah, Mustayf Hill and Abu Jurayf from government forces and foiled army attempts to take them back.
Aleppo city came under a series of artillery and rocket strikes by militant groups operating in its southwestern countryside. Russia’s Hmeimim airbase also came under an attack by militants’ armed drones. All drones were intervened. The behavior of Idlib militants is a visual confirmation of forecasts saying that a new round of military escalation in the so-called de-escalation zone is almost inevitable.
On January 18, a car bomb exploded near a convoy of U.S. forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the road heading to the Conoco gas facility, according to the North Press Agency. The incident happened in the village of Jadid Akkidat. No casualties were reported.
On January 13, 15, 17 and 18, the so-called Afrin Liberation Forces (ALF) conducted a series of attacks on positions of the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed militant groups in northern Aleppo. According to the ALF, 9 militants were killed and 2 Turkish soldiers were injured in these attacks. The inability of Turkish-led forces to secure their positions in northern Syria from attacks by Kurdish rebels demonstrates that the support of local population to the Turkish intervention is a bit lower than Ankara claims.
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