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Syrian forces advancing at last militant stronghold north of Aleppo

Syrian forces are attacking positions of armed groups on the approaches to the village of Tell Rifaat - the last militants' stronghold to the north of Aleppo (360 kilometers from capital Damscus).

Al Manar TV channel reported on Tuesday that Syrian forces opened artillery fire at the district of Kfar Naya located three kilometers away from Tell Rifaat. The offensive in this part of the front is unfolding simultaneously with heavy fighting for the neighboring town of Retyan.

According to Al Manar, Syrian forces will get access to the border town of Azaz, where rear bases of the enemy are stationed, if they defeat the armed coalition of Islamists Jabhat al-Sham supported by Turkey. A representative of this coalition Heisam Hammo admitted that "rebels may lose their foothold in the north of Syria" adding that "this threat has become a reality."

Syrian government forces regained control over the village of Kfin (five kilometers from Tell Rifaat) on Monday. With support from militias, government forces forced Jebhat al-Nusra terrorists out from the settlement.

Kurdish units are conducting military actions in this region bordering with Turkey. Over the last four days, they freed several settlements from extremists, including Deir Jamal, Maranaz, Al Ziyara and Hreibi. As a result, Kurdish forces extended their zone of control to the east of their autonomous district of Afrin.

Syrian forces also made advances in northern parts of Latakia province. They regained control over settlements of Ruweisat, Al Wadi Al Azrak, Suwaidiyah and Al Hor. Syrian army and militias are now surrounding Kensaba - the last militant stronghold.

Meanwhile, armed groups are trying to shell peaceful towns protected by the Syrian army. Three civilians were killed and six more injured in projectile explosions in Kradakh (40 kilometers from Latakia). The Shiite towns of Nobul and Al Zahra also came under fire from militants. Several people were killed and injured there as well.

Government forces destroyed more than 20 Jebhat al-Nusra terrorists in southern Deraa province (110 kilometers from Damascus) on Monday and damaged 11 military vehicles.

[Source: Itar Tass, Beirut, 09Feb16]

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