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    Syrian army in Idlib province. File photo

    Syrian Military Liberates Strategically Important Town in Idlib Province - Reports

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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Syrian troops have liberated the town of Hobait in Idlib Province in a strategic move that would allow them to gain access to one of the province's largest cities, Khan Shaykhun, al-Watan reported.

    The Syrian forces managed to establish control over the city and damaged the equipment of Nusra Front*, the newspaper al-Watan said, adding that the terrorists had also suffered losses.

    The surviving militants have reportedly fled to Khan Shaykhun.

    In the meantime, the radio station Sham FM noted that Hobait had been considered one of the Nusra militants' strongholds and a "gateway" to Idlib since it is located only six miles from Khan Shaykhun.

    Idlib, which is allegedly controlled mainly by Hayat Tahrir Sham*, remains the last bastion of the militants in the country. Government forces are fighting to take back the territory with support from Russia as part of a counterterrorism operation.

    This aerial view taken on August 5, 2019 shows a view of damaged and destroyed buildings in the town of Maaret Hurmah in the southern countryside of Syria's northwestern Idlib province
    © AFP 2019 / OMAR HAJ KADOUR
    This aerial view taken on August 5, 2019 shows a view of damaged and destroyed buildings in the town of Maaret Hurmah in the southern countryside of Syria's northwestern Idlib province

    In September 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarised zone in Idlib along the contact line between the armed opposition and the government forces during their talks in the Russian city of Sochi.

    The withdrawal of heavy weaponry operated by the militants is also part of the agreement.

    *Al-Nusra Front (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are terrorist groups banned in Russia

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    Syrian Arab Army, Idlib, Syria
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