Middle East

Clashes between militants and rebels leave 19 dead in Syria’s Idlib: Monitor

Nureddine al-Zinki is a major player in the National Liberation Front (NLF), a Turkish-backed rebel alliance (AFP)

Clashes between militants and rebels in northern Syria have killed at least 19 people, a war monitor said on Tuesday.

The fighting, pitting al-Qaeda-linked coalition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) against an alliance of rebel groups, flared in western Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

HTS had on Monday accused rebel group Nureddine al-Zinki of killing five of its militants, and launched an offensive against rebel positions close to the country's last opposition bastion in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Observatory, said 12 HTS militants and five Zinki fighters had been killed, along with two civilians. A further 35 people were wounded, he said.

Zinki is a major player in the National Liberation Front (NLF), a Turkish-backed rebel alliance.


Charities warned that sending aid to Syria's Idlib could be a 'terror offence'

HTS and other militant groups dominate more than half of Idlib province, while the NLF holds most of the rest.

The two have regularly clashed over control of territory.

Russia and Turkey reached a deal in Sochi last September to enforce a demilitarised zone in Idlib that is the last stronghold of rebels who rose against President Bashar al-Assad's government in 2011.

Idlib province is also home to about three million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced at least once during the civil war in Syria.

The Syrian army and allied militias had wanted to press on to regain the last of the rebel-held areas after recapturing southern Syria and ending rebel control around the capital.

Syria's conflict flared with anti-government protests in 2011 that were brutally repressed, sparking a complex multi-front civil war involving a myriad of militant organisations, rebel groups and foreign powers.

It has left more than 360,000 people dead and displaced millions.

Original Article


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