DAMASCUS (Press TV) – Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have succeeded to make further progress in the southern countryside area of the country’s embattled northwestern provinces of Idlib, liberating more villages from the clutches of foreign-sponsored terrorists.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian soldiers and their allies took complete control of the villages of Ma’ar Tamater and Ma’artasin on Tuesday following fierce clashes with members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group and their affiliates.
The report added that the clashes incurred heavy losses on the terrorists in terms of military equipment and personnel.
Syrian army units are now hunting down the remnants of terrorists, who have fled the villages towards Kafr Nabl town – a major terrorist stronghold in the southern part of Idlib.
Later in the day, Syrian soldiers and allied fighters from popular defense groups recaptured the village of Baarbu, and started an operation to capture remnants of terror outfits in neighboring areas.
A day earlier, a Turkish shelling reportedly killed nine Syrian forces in the Idlib, a London-based monitoring group said.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said five Syrian forces lost their lives near the town of Saraqeb while the others died near the town of Nayrab.
It added that militants backed by Turkey also retook control of Nayrab and fired at Syrian government forces in the town of Sarmin.
Saraqeb, which lies at the intersection of the M4 and another important highway the M5, has been under the government’s control since Feb. 8.
The fighting that raged on Monday killed almost 100 fighters on both sides around the militant-dominated bastion, the SOHR said.
Those included 41 forces allied to the Syrian army as well as 53 terrorists.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed some calls for a halt to Syrian government forces’ campaign to wipe out militant groups in the Idlib region.
"This is capitulating before terrorists and even a reward for their activities in violation of international treaties and numerous UN Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Lavrov slammed some governments for having "a desire to justify outrageous acts committed by radical and terrorist groupings.”
"Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain admonishments about the possibility of concluding peace agreements with bandits,” the top Russian diplomat said.