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Syrian troops reach gates of key rebel-held air base

12 January 2018

The retaking of control of the military facilities would enable government forces to better secure the main road from Damascus to Aleppo.

Millitary sources said Army units beat Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) back from eleven more regions in Southeastern Idlib and managed to take position only three kilometers away from Abu al-Dhohour airbase, field sources said on Tuesday.

Last October, Syrian regime forces launched a major offensive in Syria's Hama province with the support of Iranian-backed militias and Russian air cover.

"The suffering of the people of Syria knows no end", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, noting that residential areas in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the nation's capital, Damascus, are being hit day and night by strikes from the ground and the air, forcing civilians to hide in basements.

On Wednesday, 35 soldiers were killed at the airport, according to the Observatory.

About 1.1 of the people living in the region have been forced to flee there from other regions.

The UN human rights chief said on Wednesday that Syrian government forces and their allies have killed at least 85 civilians since December 31 in attacks against the besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, Reuters reports.

In Idlib, ground attacks and airstrikes have escalated as a rapidly-moving government offensive gains momentum, jeopardizing the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilians, said Zeid, noting that an explosion on January 7 reportedly killed 28 civilians.

The push toward Abu Zuhour came as the opposition's Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported several explosions in the coastal province of Latakia, an Assad stronghold.

The Russian military has urged its Turkish counterparts to tighten monitoring of opposition in northern Syria in the wake of a drone attack on Russian military bases in the country.

Syrian troops reach gates of key rebel-held air base