Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has shot down two Russian drones as they advance at Idlib's eastern village of Nairab, local media reported yesterday.
"SNA and Turkish forces managed to control large areas in the town of Nairab amid continuing clashes with the Syrian regime forces," Arabi21 quoted local sources as saying. The sources added that the SNA had managed to destroy two vehicles affiliated to the Syrian regime forces.
Russian media reported that several shells had fallen on Syrian regime sites in Idlib's countryside villages of Saraqib and Nairab. "The opposition forces have managed to destroy two tanks of Bashar Al-Assad forces on, with Turkish forces support in storming the town."
In a similar context, Syrian media said that the SNA had targeted the Russian forces in Idlib's southern town of Kfaruma with "heavy artillery and rocket launchers."
The province of Idlib, which is the last major opposition stronghold in Syria's nine-year-long civil war, was originally meant to be a de-escalation or safe zone in the first place, as stated under the agreement struck between Turkey and Russia back in September 2018.
That agreement, however, was violated by both the Syrian regime and its ally Russia when they launched a campaign in April last year. In recent months, the regime has made significant gains, especially with the support of Russian ground troops and Iranian forces, enabling it to retake around half of Idlib province so far, including key towns and cities and the strategic M5 highway.
The escalation of the violence has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in which the inhabitants of Idlib – numbering over three million – are severely lacking in proper shelter, protection, food, sanitation, healthcare and education. Almost a million of those are displaced by the regime's bombardment and have been forced to flee their homes and to move further north towards the Turkish border, with the mass exodus raising fears of a new wave of refugees into Turkey and subsequently into Europe.