Syrian army helicopter downed as Idlib preventing intensifies

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A Syrian army helicopter has been shot down in northwest Syria, the place an intensifying authorities offensive to retake the nation’s final rebel-held areas has induced an enormous wave of displacement.

Syrian state media stated the plane was hit by a missile at approximately 1:40pm (11:40 GMT) on Friday near the city of Urum al-Kubra within the western countryside of Aleppo.

“This lead the helicopter to crash, killing all crew on board,” SANA information company stated, with out offering any data on who was behind the incident.

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The National Liberation Front insurgent group claimed accountability in an announcement posted on the Telegram app.

Turkey‘s Anadolu information company additionally stated rebels reported putting the helicopter whereas it was flying over the western Aleppo province. 

The company stated the helicopter took off from an space near the Aleppo metropolis middle amid “clashes between the opposition and regime forces” and was shot at from the Qibtan al-Jabal area. It was seen crashing, unleashing a plume of smoke, the company reported.

What is occurring in Idlib? (1:42)

The incident got here days after rebels stated they’d downed one other authorities helicopter on Tuesday near the city of Nairab.

Since December, the Russia-backed Syrian authorities forces have been urgent forward with a ferocious assault on the final insurgent bastion within the nation’s northwest.

The offensive has triggered the biggest wave of displacement within the nine-year conflict, with greater than 800,000 individuals fleeing in direction of the Turkish border. Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it can’t take up any extra. 

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Clivegozu on the Turkish facet of the border, stated assist companies are struggling to deal with the “huge number” of individuals displaced by the preventing.

“It’s a very delicate situation and activists are already saying it’s already a tragic humanitarian situation,” he stated.

The intensified preventing, which noticed 5 Turkish troops killed this week in Syrian authorities shelling, is essentially the most severe since Ankara, which is supporting sure insurgent teams in northwest Syria’s Idlib province, first despatched forces to its neighbouring nation in 2016. 

In latest weeks, Turkey’s army has deployed massive convoys of autos carrying commandos, tanks and howitzers to shore up its army posts in Idlib.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based conflict monitor that depends on sources in Syria, stated on Friday that Turkey had deployed round 6,500 troopers to bolster current models within the nation’s northwest, in addition to some 1,900 army autos since early February.

Government advances

Meanwhile, authorities forces have made new features in northwest Syria in latest days.

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They are at present securing areas alongside the important thing MP5 freeway they seized from rebels this week, in keeping with stories. They are pushing west of the motorway that connects Syria’s 4 largest cities and is economically very important for the federal government.

In an try to consolidate a “security belt” across the street, they captured a key base on Friday that they’d misplaced to rebels in 2012, SOHR stated. 

The base’s recapture marks a symbolic win for the federal government, which has decreased the rebel-held pocket to simply over half of Idlib province, in addition to slivers of neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies