Assad regime seizes key Idlib highway as bloody assault continues

Assad regime seizes key Idlib highway as bloody assault continues
The M5 highway has been seized by the Assad regime as a part of their blooded offensive on Idlib.
2 min read
11 February, 2020
Idlib is under attack by the Assad regime [Getty]

Syrian regime seized the last segment of a key highway from anti-government rebels on Tuesday in the embattled region of Idlib, a war monitor said.

The reconquest came on the back of a months-old offensive against the rebel enclave of Idlib and marked the first time since 2012 that the government controlled the entire M5 highway, which connects the capital Damascus with the major cities of Hama, Homs and Aleppo.

"The regime retook the area of Rashideen al-Rabea" in Aleppo province, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observator for Human Rights, told AFP

"That means they control the entire M5 for the first time since 2012."

The blooded regime of President Bashar al-Assad lost huge swathes of the country to rebels as a result of a conflict that erupted following the repression of what started off as peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.

The brutal tactics of the Assad regime against the uprising triggered an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army, leading the country to civil war.

Read also: WATCH: Pro-Assad forces caught 'desecrating graves and exhuming corpses' in Idlib

With the support of Russia - which began airstrikes in 2015 - and Iran - who have supplied thousands of militia fighters - loyalist forces have since clawed back much of that lost territory.

It is home to around three million people, many of whom were displaced by previous military offensives elsewhere in the country.

According to the United Nations, close to 700,000 people have been forced to flee violence since the start of December, one of the biggest waves of displacement since the start of the war.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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