A damaged building hit by what local residents said were airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force on a Turkish grain mill factory is seen in the town of Saraqib, in Idlib province, Syria, December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
CAIRO - 8 February 2020: The Arab Syrian Army captured on Thursday Saraqib city located in the eastern countryside of Idlib. The city lies on the roads linking Damascus with the economic capital Aleppo, and Aleppo with Latakia having a major seaport.
Both the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway known as M5 linking the North and the South, and the M4 Highway linking Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia extend through the city.
The Arab Syrian Army had captured earlier on Thursday Afes village northern Saraqib in the eastern countryside of Idlib, and on Wednesday Tell Touqan, Islamin, and Al Rayan villages after ending terrorists presence. The Syrian army also imposed control over Aleppo-Saraqeb International Highway.
As such, the Syrian government forces were able to encircle four out of 12 Turkish checkpoints last week. Those are Morek in Hama, Al Rashdin in Aleppo, Maar Hatat, Tell Touqan and Sarmin in Idlib.
The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria revealed that 17 villages and towns in Idlib’s de-escalation area were struck on Thursday and Friday, according to Russia Today. The center clarified that 25 strikes hit sites in Latakia, Idlib, and Hama.
In parallel, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets struck early on Thursday eight air-to-ground missiles in the suburbs of Damascus without entering Syrian airspace, Russia announced.
Al Arabiya reported that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared on Friday the arrival of hundreds of Idlib residents to Manbij. The SDF had announced on Wednesday that thousands had been displaced from various areas in Syria to the sites controlled by the Kurdish forces.
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.
That makes the number of towns and villages restored by the Syrian army between January 24 and February 4 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.
Clashes with Turkey
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 advancement.
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 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.