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New heights liberated in northwestern Syria

25 December 2015 18:37


Syrian forces have seized control of major hilltops held by terrorists in the northwestern province of Latakia.

Syria’s official news agency SANA said on Friday that the army and volunteer fighters liberated the Jabal al-Naom heights in the northern countryside of the province.

The liberation operation lasted only 12 hours, SANA said, adding that several major militant hideouts were also destroyed. Many terrorists were forced to flee to the nearby towns of Salmi and Rabi’a.

With the control over the hilltops, the Syrian forces now have better access to the positions of militants in the village of Salmi.

Syrian forces also carried out other successful operations south of the capital, Damascus, with reports saying that they managed to destroy a series of tortuous tunnels leading to the town of Darayya.

Latakia and Aleppo, another province in the same region, have seen successful operations by the army recently. The military gains were expedited since Russia, based on an official request from Damascus, began to provide air cover to the pro-government forces on September 30.

Militant sources said on Friday that Zahran Alloush (seen below), the notorious leader of the so-called Jaysh al-Islam terrorist group, had been killed in aerial attacks by Russia on the group’s headquarters.

Syrian state media have confirmed the death of Alloush and other figures of the militant group in an aerial raid in east Damascus suburbs.

Officials in Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that Russian fighter jets had made 5,240 sorties since the start of air campaign against militants in Syria. Sergei Rudskoi told reporters that 145 of those sorties have been carried out by long-range bombers, adding that the Russian air force made 189 sorties on Thursday alone.

More than 250,000 people have died in the conflict that has gripped Syria since March 2011.

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