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Regime forces advance in northwest Syria: War monitor

Published: Updated:

Regime forces advanced in northwestern Syria Friday as they pressed a deadly campaign against the last major opposition bastion in the country in Idlib, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had taken hold of a stretch of a key highway in the region of Idlib.

“Regime forces have seized the entire section of the Damascus-Aleppo highway that runs through Idlib province,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

State media made no mention of control over that part of the highway but said that government forces had taken control of two villages along the road.

The M5 motorway has long been in the sights of the Damascus regime, as retaking it would allow traffic to flow from the capital to second city and former industrial hub Aleppo.

The Observatory said the latest advance to the northeast of the crossroads town of Saraqib meant pro-Damascus fighters only had a 30-kilometer stretch remaining to seize in Aleppo province to exert full control over the highway.