The Syrian army has continued to be victorious in battles against opposition groups and terrorist organisations, as government troops seized more territory, Reuters reported on Friday August 23rd.
Syrian troops took control of a pocket of territory in the northwest where they had encircled rebels and advanced on a Turkish military post, reclaiming towns they lost early in the war.
Government forces have pounded the south of Idlib province and nearby Hama with air and ground attacks this week, pressing an offensive that has prompted a new exodus of people uprooted by the fighting.
Friday's advance ends opposition presence in Hama, dealing yet another blow to rebel insurgents who have suffered a string of crushing defeats across Syria. The northwest corner is all that remains in rebel hands after more than eight years of war.
President Bashar al-Assad turned to Idlib after shoring up his rule in most of Syria with Russia and Iran's help. Still, the prospect of more advances is obstructed not only by Turkey's interests further north near its border, but also by US forces alongside Kurdish fighters in the northeast.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s President Putin on Friday August 23rd that Syrian army attacks were causing a humanitarian crisis and threatening Turkey's national security.
In a phone call, Erdogan said that attacks by government forces violated a ceasefire in Idlib and damaged efforts for a solution in Syria, the president’s office said.
The latest army gains have put Turkish troops in Idlib in the firing line and threaten Ankara's hopes of preventing a new wave of refugees crossing its border.