14:55 GMT20 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Syria's Idlib has been experiencing intensified fighting as the government forces have been struggling to regain control over the province, which remains a major terrorist bastion in the country.

    Terrorists in Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone carried out more than 1,000 attacks over the last two weeks of January, killing Russian and Turkish military experts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

    "Over the last two weeks of January, more than 1,000 attacks [in Idlib] were recorded. ... Russian and Turkish military experts were tragically killed", the ministry said.

    According to the ministry, terrorists have intensified their offensive killing hundreds of servicemen and civilians outside the de-escalation zone. The terrorists have also been attempting to launch drone attacks on Russia's Hmeymim base.

    On Wednesday, the Syrian army was completing the encirclement of the town of Saraqib in Idlib Province, a strategically important location at the crossroads of highways M4 (Latakia - Aleppo) and M5 (Damascus - Aleppo).

    Fighting has intensified in Idlib amid the Syrian military's operation to recapture the region from terrorists. Since 2012, Idlib province has been a stronghold of various militant factions, with the majority of it controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham**, known as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda**

    A military conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. While Daesh* was declared defeated in 2017 both in Iraq and Syria, militants still remain active in certain parts of both countries.

    * Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/"Islamic State") is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other countries

    **Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Al-Qaeda are terrorist groups outlawed in Russia

    terrorist, Syria, Turkey, Russia
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