Syrian army helicopter shot down as 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 mentioned 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 mentioned, with out offering any info on who was behind the incident.

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

The incident got here days after rebels mentioned that they had 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 struggle, with greater than 800,000 individuals fleeing in the direction of the Turkish border. Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it can not take up any extra. 

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Clivegozu on the Turkish aspect of the border, mentioned assist businesses 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 mentioned.

The intensified preventing, which noticed 5 Turkish troops killed this week in Syrian authorities shelling, is probably the most severe since Ankara, which is supporting sure insurgent teams in northest 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 struggle monitor that depends on sources in Syria, mentioned on Friday that Turkey had deployed round 6,500 troopers to strengthen current items within the nation’s northwest, in addition to some 1,900 army autos since early February.

Government advances

Meanwhile, authorities forces have made new positive factors 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 line with experiences. 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 and consolidate a “security belt” across the street, they captured a key base on Friday that that they had misplaced to rebels in 2012, SOHR mentioned. 

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

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information businesses