Clashes between pro-govt forces, rebels kill 59 in Syria; al Nusra claims shot down, captured pilot
[DAWN] Clashes between regime loyalists and murderous Moslems in rebel-held northwest Syria killed 59 combatants on Tuesday, a war monitor said.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly al-Nusra, before that it was called something else
...al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, from which sprang the Islamic State...
(HTS), a jihadist group led by Syria’s former Al Qaeda affiliate, has since January controlled most of Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces. Several other armed rebel groups also operate in the region.

Fighting in southern Idlib and rural Latakia on Tuesday claimed the lives of 29 pro-government forces as well as 30 jihadists and allied rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It came as regime warplanes pummelled the Idlib region with air strikes, killing three civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Britannia-based monitor added.

Regime forces and anti-government fighters have been caught in fierce battles in the region for days, as the former presses with an advance toward a strip straddling the Hama and Idlib governorates.

On Sunday, regime forces seized the town of al-Habeet in Idlib’s southern countryside, in their first major ground advance in the province since an escalation on the jihadist-dominated enclave more than three months ago.

The region was supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a Ottoman Turkish-Russian buffer zone deal struck last September.

But it has come under increasing bombardment by Damascus and its backer Moscow since the end of April that has killed 816 civilians, according to the Observatory.

Syrian opposition shoots down regime warplane over Idlib

[Rudaw] Syrian opposition fighters on Wednesday shot down a regime warplane over the northwest province of Idlib, according to a war monitor.

Opposition fighters captured the pilot, who ejected from the Sukhoi 22 jet near the strategically important opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the jihadist group in control of Idlib, did not say how the jet was shot down, but SOHR said heavy machine guns were used.

Syrian state news is yet to confirm the incident.

Posted by: Fred 2019-08-15