Syrian troops surround Turkish military post near Idlib

Syrian govt forces advance south of Idlib - General news - ANSAMed

Syria declares liberation of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib, towns in Hama province

After intensive strikes during the previous days and the complete encirclement of the terrorists in the north of Hama, the army liberated Khan Sheikhun, Morek, Ltamenah, Tall as Sayyad, Latmeen, Kafr Zita, Lahaya and others, a General Staff spokesman was cited by state-run Ikhbariya television.

On Wednesday, they seized the key town of Khan Sheikhun from jihadists and allied rebels, and on Friday overran the countryside to the south of the town, encircling a Turkish observation post there.

Syrian authorities took a group of journalists to tour the observation post, several newly captured villages and the town of Khan Sheikhoun, which was a major rebel stronghold until it was taken by government forces earlier this week. On their arrival at the areas, the army found them to be "deserted" following the withdrawal of opposition forces prior to its entry.

The move comes after the defense chiefs of Turkey and the US agreed to launch the first phase of a safe zone plan in northern Syria on Wednesday.

The Kremlin on Friday said that Putin and Erdogan agreed to "activate mutual efforts" to ease the situation in the region.

"We are discussing this issue with Russian Federation and Iran", he told a news conference in Beirut.

The town of Morek, where the Turkish troops have been cut off, lies in the north of Hama province, part of the opposition-ruled region centered on neighboring Idlib province that has been under regime assault since late April.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a one-day-visit to Russian Federation on Tuesday, his office said Friday.

A number of health and humanitarian facilities in the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib that receive German funding have been deliberately attacked during the Damascus government's recent offensive, two German ministries have said.

The village itself has suffered massive destruction, in which entire buildings were knocked out and only Syrian troops were seen inside as many of its residents fled since the Syrian army began its last offensive on April 30, forcing more than half a million people to leave their homes.

Relations between Turkey and Syria have deteriorated sharply since Syria's crisis began in 2011, with Damascus accusing Ankara of undermining its security by allowing thousands of foreign fighters to come battle the Syrian army.

"The Secretary-General reiterates his urgent call for the September 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Idlib to be upheld", she added, referring to a ceasefire deal reached between Turkey and Russian Federation.

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