TASS, November 14. Syrian army units have captured two settlements on Thursday as part of a military operation in southeastern Idlib province, the Syrian SANA news agency reported, adding that the forces are hunting down the retreating criminal gangs and are striking their rearmost positions.
According to the agency, the militants are losing forces and hardware.
The operation of government forces has been launched in retaliation to the armed gangs violating the ceasefire that has been in place in northwestern Syria since August 30.
Reports are emerging of hostilities resuming in mountainous regions in the north of the Latakia province where government forces are assaulting the stronghold of criminal gangs in Kabani featuring militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization and the Turkistan Islamic Party made up of Uyghur (Turkic people leaving in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China) hired gunners.
According to the Al-Masdar News outlet, the land operation was preceded by the Syrian Air Force strikes on positions of the enemy on the approaches to the strategic mountain pass of Jisr al-Shughur at the Latakia-Aleppo highway. As a result, a few tunnels used by militants were destroyed along with sniper fire points.
Four de-escalation zones were set up in Syria in accordance with the May 2017 agreement reached by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana (now renamed to Nur-Sultan), Kazakhstan. In 2018, Damascus took the territory of three of these zones under its control. The fourth zone is located in the Idlib province as well as in parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces; the Syrian government is still not exercising full control over it, while the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists captured most of it.