Syria updates: army advances, militants hit oil facilities

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Tue, 04 Feb 2020 - 02:32 GMT

People inspect the damage at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel-held city of Idlib, Syria February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

People inspect the damage at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel-held city of Idlib, Syria February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

CAIRO - 4 February 2020: The Syrian Armed Forces continue to achieve advances northwestern Syria, particularly in Idlib province, amid militant attacks against gas facilities and engagements with Turkish troops.

Armed groups in Syria rocket shelled on Tuesday morning oil facilities in Homs. The targeted utilities are Al-Rayyan Gas Station, a gas laboratory in the central zone; Ebla gas laboratory; and Homs refinery.

However, civil defense elements were able to control the fires ensued, and loss evaluation is currently underway, as reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Ebla laboratory, which supplies 2.5 million cubic meters of gas to local power plants daily, did not sustain any damages.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Syrian Armed Forces captured from militants on Tuesday Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha villages, located within Ma’rat al-Numan, Ariha, and Saraqeb towns.

“Regime forces seek to encircle Saraqeb and besiege it from several directions, as happened in Ma’rat Al-Nu’man, and seek to approach Ariha and Idlib cities as well,” SOHR stated. That makes the number of towns and villages restored by the Syrian army since January 24 56.

Those are Telmans, Ma’ar Shmasha, Dier Sharqi, Dier Gharbi, Ma’arshamarin, Ma’rata, Al-Ghadfa, Marshourin, Al-Za’alana, Al-Dana, Tal Al-Sheikh, Sawami’e, Khirbet Mzayan, Masaran, Bsida and Taqana, Babolin, Kafr Bassin, Ma’arhatat, Hamidia, Dar es Salaam, Salhiya, Kafruma, Ma’rat al-Numan, Wadi Al-Dayif, Hantotin, al-Jarada, Ruwayha, Qahiriya, Ain Halban, Tal al-Dibis, Khan al-Sobul and Ma’ardabsi, Tal Mardikh, Jobas, Hertamia, Qamhana, Abu-Jreif, Tal Khatra, Tal Mastif, Al Kana’yes, Karsian, Hish, Kafrmazda, Jabala, Mouqa, Amoudia, Armanya, Kafrbatikh, Dadikh, Luf, Anqrati, Jobas, Sinan, Zakar, Tarnaba, Al Nayrab, Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha.

At present, the Syrian armed forces lie eight kilometers away from Idlib on Aleppo – Latakia international highway known as M4 road.

On Tuesday, three Turkish convoys entered Syrian territories from Kafr Lusain crossing bordering Sanjak of Alexandretta controlled by Turkey, so the number of vehicles brought in since Sunday rose to 400. Five other convoys had entered since Sunday and headed to Idlib and Aleppo.

The number of Turkish troops killed by the Syrian Armed Forces rose to 13 on Monday as eight fell in Idlib and three were hit in the northern countryside of each of Hama and Latakia. Yet, Turkey announced later on Monday striking 54 targets in Idlib and killing 76 Syrian soldiers, as reported by Sky News Arabia.

Chairman of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) Ramy Abdel Rahman explained to Al Arabiya Al Hadath on Monday how the engagement between Turkish troops and the Syrian Armed Forces took place causing casualties among the former.

Clashes started when the Syrian army took over Jobas village western Saraqib and was moving on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia as Turkish troops attempted to impede their advance.

As a consequence, the Syrian government forces struck at Turkish troops killing four soldiers and injuring nine others, which has triggered a response by the latter as they struck certain points in Morek town and launched a missile attack from Sanjak of Alexandretta against the former.

Abdel Rahman said that four Turkish military convoys were trying to establish a new control point in Jobas but retreated after the Syrian government forces captured the town and struck them. The Turkish convoys headed west and probably have as destination Arihah town.

SOHR also affirmed that around 200 Turkish military vehicles entered Syrian territories early on Monday and are heading towards Idlib and Aleppo. SOHR had revealed on Sunday that a huge Turkish military convoy entered Syria from Kafr Lusain crossing, and that 54 Syrian soldiers and 40 militants died in clashes in Aleppo and Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Turkish troops were hit because of not notifying Russia of their operations northwestern Idlib, Reuters reported citing TASS. Nevertheless, the ministry added that Turkish aircrafts did not cross Syrian borders or hit any Syrian forces.

SOHR also negated that Turkey had targeted more than 40 Syrian Armed Forces targets by F16 fighter jets.

On Sunday, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria declared that the defenses of Khmeimim Air Base detected and obstructed drones that were launched from Idlib’s de-escalation area towards the base. The center has called upon armed groups to abandon provocations and seek a peaceful settlement.

The Syrian Armed Forces freed on Sunday three villages in southeastern Idlib after fierce battles with armed groups, and are now going after defeated militants. The liberated villages include Anqrati, Kafr Battikh, and Kafr Dadikh.

SOHR reported the death of three civilians by an airstrike against Sarmin, and a woman by a Russian airstrike against Al Atarib. The number of fatalities may rise since a number of the injured are in critical conditions.

Raids and barrel bomb attacks persist in Saraqib, Sarmin, Al Nerba, Afes, Hass and other villages in the eastern and southeastern of Idlib. Also, Russian strikes continue in different zones of Idlib.

SOHR reported that numbers of airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets are 73 and 86, respectively. The former targeted places in Atarib and the outskirts of Anjara in the west of Aleppo, Al-Qanater, Al-Kammari and Arnaz in the southern countryside of Aleppo, Taftanaz, the perimeter of Taftanaz Military Airbase, Saraqeb, Sarmin, the outskirts of Areha, Al-Nayrab, Binnish and Al-Mastuma in Idlib countryside. The latter struck Areha, Sarmin, Saraqeb, Al-Nayrab, Tal Sultan, Afes, Qumaynisan and other areas east and south-east of Idlib.

Syrian helicopters also dropped 64 barrel bombs on areas in Saraqeb, Sarmin, Al-Nayrab, Mantaf, the vicinity of Areha and Saraqeb countryside, while the ground forces fired hundreds of rockets and shells on Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Latakia countryside.

Four children and three females out of nine injured civilians were killed in a strike by Syrian jets against a vehicle carrying evacuated people in Jam’eyyat Al-Rahal in the western countryside of Aleppo.

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