Syrian State Media Claims Turkey Aiding Rebel Counterattack in Idlib

Some 16 villages have reportedly been recaptured so far, with regime forces facing "fierce resistance" at Abu Duhur military airport which they seized on Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

France said Wednesday it was "extremely concerned" by a Syrian government offensive in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib and demanded that commitments made at an global deal in Astana to reduce hostilities be respected.

The wide-scale counter-attack aims to foil the advance of the Syrian army and restore areas taken by the army in the northeastern countryside of Hama province in central Syria and the southeastern countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria. Assad has defeated rebels in many parts of western Syria with critical help from Russian Federation and Iran.

On Jan. 8, Russian Federation averted an attack by 13 drones on its Syrian installations, 10 attacking its Khmeimim Air Base and three of them on the Tartus naval base, according to Russia's Defense Ministry.

In the event, at least one rebel group - this being Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) - has made a decision to re-militarize the Al-Hass area and to this end, the last twelve hours has witnessed the jihadist faction flood southwest Aleppo with reinforcements.

Syrian troops and allied forces absorbed the attack and regained control of some positions they had withdrawn from, it said.

"Regime forces are striking moderate opposition with the pretext of fighting against Al-Nusra (Front)", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, referring to the former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Rebels said they had captured some 15 villages and seized 60 government fighters.

In their counter-offensive Thursday, the rebels captured the towns of Khwein, Atshan Abu Omar, and Um Khalakhel from the Syrian army.

  • Rogelio Becker