Iraq News

Regime makes gains against extremists in north-west Syria: monitor

Syrian regime forces captured two villages in north-west Syria from extremists and allied opposition groups, after weeks of deadly clashes that have killed scores of combatants, AFP reported Monday (July 29th).

The villages of Jibeen and Tal Maleh in Hama province came under regime control overnight, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Fourteen opposition fighters and eight regime loyalists were killed in battles over the two villages since Sunday, the monitor said.

Northern Hama along with Idlib province and parts of Aleppo and Latakia are under the control of extremist alliance Tahrir al-Sham.

The region is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but it has come under increasing fire by Damascus and its backer Moscow since the end of April.

Government forces and extremists have also clashed on the edges of the buffer zone, with battles killing nearly 2,000 combatants, including more than 930 regime loyalists, over the same period, the Observatory said.

On Monday, Syrian troops combed Tal Maleh and Jibeen for extremist holdouts, while destroying their headquarters and stockpiles, a military source told state agency SANA, confirming the villages' recapture.

The two areas have come under alternating control between regime forces and extremists in recent weeks, following a series of tit-for-tat attacks.

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