Syrian forces take key town from extremists

Syrian government forces recaptured a north-western town on Thursday (May 9th) from around which extremists and allied opposition fighters have launched rockets on their Russian ally's key airbase, AFP reported.

The capture of the town of Qalaat al-Madiq, on the south-western edge of the extremist-controlled Idlib region, comes after weeks of intensified airstrikes and shelling by pro-government and Russian forces.

Intense bombardment caused the extremists and opposition fighters to flee, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Rockets have been fired on the Hmeimim airbase" from the area around the town, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Russian airbase in the coastal province of Latakia has come under repeated rocket fire and Moscow has also accused armed groups of launching weaponised drones against it.

In the latest attack on Monday, 36 rockets were fired at Hmeimim, but were intercepted without causing any casualties or damage, the Russian defence ministry said.

The recapture of Qalaat al-Madiq comes after government forces retook the nearby town of Kafr Nabouda on Wednesday, pro-government newspaper Al-Watan and the Observatory said.

Overnight and early Thursday, government and Russian aircraft also struck two other nearby towns, Hobait and Khan Sheikhun, the Observatory said.

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