Almost 100000 displaced by fighting in northwest Syria's Idlib since December 1

Almost 100000 displaced by fighting in northwest Syria's Idlib since December 1

Almost 100000 displaced by fighting in northwest Syria's Idlib since December 1

France said on Wednesday it was "extremely concerned" by a Syrian government offensive in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib and demanded that commitments made at an global deal in Astana to reduce hostilities be respected.

Idlib province is the biggest chunk of Syria still held by rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, with a population swollen by Syrians who have fled government advances in other parts of the country.

The recent military escalation in western Syria has included an unprecedented attack by a squadron of drones on Russian military bases and has cast a shadow over Moscow's efforts to convene a Syria peace congress later this month.

The al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee (LLC) refused to join the two rebel operation parts, and chose to fight the Syrian army alone, according to the report.

Recapturing the Abu Zuhour air base, which the rebels took in 2015, has been one of the main targets of a major government offensive into Idlib that began in late October.

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Turkey has accused the Syrian government of using the presence of the Nusra Front, which now fights under the banner of the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, as an excuse to attack civilians and moderate opposition groups.

The activists said the warplane belonged to the Syrian army.

"We are witnessing a clear intensification of Russia's military strategy, with systematic attacks on civilian facilities perpetrated with total disregard for worldwide law", warns Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairperson of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

In May a year ago, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed an agreement to set up de-escalation centres in Syria. By the end of last week, they had advanced into Idlib, close to an insurgent-held military airport.

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