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Up to 450 militants attack Syrian forces in Idlib

The attacks killed nearly 40 Syrian troops, according to the Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Some 450 militants attacked government forces in Syria from two directions in Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria said on Thursday.

"On January 22, when it became dark up to 200 militants of the Turkistan Islamic Party [outlawed in Russia] attacked Syrian government forces’ positions in the direction of Abu-Djreif-Samka with the support of 20 pickup trucks, one tank, two infantry fighting vehicles and two jihad-mobiles," the statement runs.

According to the Center, simultaneously at around 21:00 in the direction of Maar Shamarin-Crati two terrorist units consisting of some 250 people attacked government forces. They were supported by 34 pickup trucks with large-caliber machine guns, two tanks, infantry fighting vehicle and two jihad-mobiles.

Nearly 40 Syrian troops were killed and 80 suffered wounds in militant attacks that took place in the Idlib province overnight into January 23, according to the Center. "Syrian government forces eliminated up to 50 militants, and up to 90 were wounded during an offensive. At the same time, nearly 40 Syrian troops were killed and up to 80 injured," the statement reads.

Attacks in Aleppo

A militant unit attacked Syria’s Aleppo for the first time after the city’s liberation in December 2016, the Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria commented.

"On January 22, a unit consisting of up to 50 militants, supported by four pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, attacked government forces in the city of Aleppo from the directions of Al-Rashidin and Baliramoun," the statement reads.

According to the Center for the Reconciliation, the attack also involved mortars. "The attack was thwarted, seven militants were killed and nine suffered wounds. As for Syrian troops, two were killed and four injured," the statement added.

The Aleppo province is part of the Idlib de-escalation zone, where military activities were halted on January 9 based on an agreement with Turkey. However, according to the Center for the Reconciliation, 28 civilians died and 56 suffered wounds in shelling attacks on the city’s western and central areas, which took place on January 16-22.

Liberation of Aleppo

In the summer of 2016, the Syrian army launched a large-scale operation to liberate Aleppo from militants. In October, Russia initiated the establishment of humanitarian corridors out of the city, but militants carried out shelling attacks, preventing civilians from leaving Aleppo. Officers from the Russian Center for the Reconciliation helped people exit the city at night. Syrian troops started an offensive in November 2016, and on December 16, the Russian General Staff announced the full liberation of Aleppo.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the operation to free Aleppo as the biggest humanitarian mission in modern history.