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BEIRUT, March 30. /TASS/. Syrian government troops have launched on Monday a counteroffensive on the insurgent-held city of Idlib in the northwest of the country. According to the latest reports, the enemy positions have been subjected to heavy rocket and artillery fire. The artillery preparation is expected to be followed by an assault operation.
Two days ago, the Syrian Army soldiers retreated to the positions to the south of the city after a few thousand terrorists attacked Idlib. According to the Surya al-Ain news portal, about 8,000 gunmen from the extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusrah, Ahrar Ash-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa penetrated into Syria through the Turkish border.
Idlib (320 away from Damascus) is located between Latakia and Aleppo and is of strategic importance for all parties to the conflict. A spokesman for the Syrian Armed Forces said that the retreat was a tactical move, accusing the neighboring Turkey of providing military and logistics support to the militants.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Toumeh, the head of the so-called "interim government" of the National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces has announced the transfer of his "administration" office to Idlib from the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
However, the Al Arabiya TV network that broadcast Toumeh’s statement, has expressed doubt over the possibility of the early implementation of his plans, considering persisting fierce fighting for Idlib.