Insurgents shoot down Syrian helicopter amid offensive

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian rebels shot down a government helicopter Tuesday in the country’s northwest the place Syrian troops are on the offensive in the previous rebel stronghold when a governing administration airstrike on a close by city killed at the very least 7, opposition activists claimed.

The capturing down of the helicopter, which killed its two crew associates, came as federal government forces came nearer to capturing the final rebel-held component of a strategic freeway linking southern and northern Syria, which would bring the road below Syrian President Bashar Assad’s full handle for the very first time since 2012.

With backing from Russia, Syrian troops have been on the offensive for weeks in the last rebel stronghold in Idlib province and sections of close by Aleppo, triggering a humanitarian crisis with some 700,000 individuals fleeing their residences. Hundreds of civilians have also been killed, in accordance to the United Nations.

The battling not long ago escalated with two separate clashes in between Syrian and Turkish troops killing 13 on every side.

Turkey, which is a major backer of the Syrian opposition, has sent hundreds of autos into Idlib evidently to protect against governing administration forces from achieving the border parts with Turkey. Turkey is residence to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and has issues of far more flowing into its border.

The battling on Tuesday concentrated in the vicinity of the village of Nairab as rebels, with the backing of Turkish artillery, attempted to retake the village that they missing final 7 days, according to opposition activists.

Amid the preventing in close proximity to Nairab, insurgents shot down the authorities helicopter gunship, killing the two crew users onboard, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Legal rights and Stage information agency, an activist collective.

Several hours later, an airstrike strike the town of Idlib, the provincial money, killing seven persons and wounding virtually two dozen, in accordance to the Syrian Civil Protection, also acknowledged as White Helmets. The Observatory explained the airstrike killed 12 civilians, half of them kids, and wounded about 30.

Opposition activists explained the airstrike on the metropolis of Idlib, that is home to some 800,000 folks, was carried out by governing administration warplanes in response to the shooting down of the helicopter.

The Observatory also reported that Syrian troops have secured the freeway that back links southern Syria with the northern city of Aleppo.

An unnamed Syrian armed forces official was quoted by pro-federal government media as expressing that they nonetheless have five villages to choose just before securing the freeway.

The freeway, recognised as M5, starts off in the country’s south close to the border with Jordan and moves north all the way to Aleppo. Its seize is important for the country’s economic system as well as for sending reinforcements.

The highway’s capture will mark yet another victory for Assad whose forces have been building good gains considering the fact that the finish of 2015 with the support of Russian airstrikes and Iran-backed fighters on the floor.

For the previous 3 many years, govt forces have been capturing pieces of the 450-kilometer (280-mile) highway that cuts by the country’s four largest cities.

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