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Syrian government army repels two attacks by militants in Idlib

Chief of the Russian reconciliation center Yury Borenkov said that 17 Syrian servicemen were killed and 42 injured in the attacks

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Syria’s government army repelled two attacks staged by militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ansar al-Tawhid and Hurras al-Din terrorist groups in the Idlib governorate. Seventeen Syrian soldiers were killed, and militants’ losses amounted to 200 people killed or wounded, Major General Yury Borenkov, chief of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Friday.

"At 9:45pm on 19 December 2019, after preliminary artillery shelling, about 300 Hurras al-Din and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants, backed by armored vehicles, staged an offensive at the settlement of Sinjar in the Idlib governorate, at the Ajaz-Tell Hazna section. Illegal armed groups intruded into the Syrian government army position to a depth of up to 1.5 kilometers but were stopped by artillery fire and air strikes," Borenkov said. "At 10:05pm on 19 December 2019, up to 400 militants of the Ansar al-Tawhid and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist groups, backed by armored infantry carriers and pickup trucks equipped with heavy machineguns, attacked positions of government forces at the Suqqat-Zarzur section to reach the settlement of Abu Dali in the Idlib governorate," he added.

According to the Russian general, both attacks were repelled by Syrian government forces. Seventeen Syrian servicemen were killed and 42 wounded. "Militants’ losses amounted to up to 200 men, killed or wounded," Borenkov said.

The first attack was rebuffed in a timespan from 12:45am to 1:35am on Friday. "Illegal armed groups were driven back by fresh troops rapidly deployed by the Syrian command. By 03:00am, the militants' attack at this section was stopped," he said.

The second attack was bogged down in a mine strewn area, with militants sustaining severe losses. "By 2:00am on December 20, the attack by armed groups was repelled," Borenkov added.

He also said that as many as 58 shelling attacks by illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone had been reported during the past day.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.