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Damascus, Syria – Militant fighters of al-Nusra Front (Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda) were reportedly engaged in clashes against Syrian regime forces in the countryside of Idlib.
The clashes took place in the city of Ariha of Idlib province during the last two days. Pro-Nusra sources reported the death of at least 70 soldiers of the regime’s army during the clashes.
The al-Nusra Front issued a statement, of which ARA News received a copy, saying that a number of jihadists (suicide bombers) were able to infiltrate a regime-held military center in Ariha city, west of Idlib, and carry out “a strategic operation against the Syrian regime forces and Shiite militias there”.
The Front confirmed that its fighters fought fierce clashes with what it called “thugs” who were stationed in a secondary-school building and a health clinic in the city, adding that two of their fighters carried out a “jihadist” operation in the regime-held center.
“The operation resulted in the death of more than 70 soldiers, including fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah who support the Syrian regime in those areas,” the statement added.
Ariha is a strategic city held by the Syrian regime in the countryside of Idlib, through which the road linking Aleppo and Latakia on the Mediterranean coast passes, which is deemed a major supply line for the regime forces in Aleppo.
The Syrian armed opposition factions backed by Islamic Brigades and the al-Nusra Front took control of the city of Idlib last March after forming a Joint Operations Chamber under the name of the “al-Fateh Army”.
Reporting by: Mohammed Darwish
Source: ARA News