Syrian troops capture two villages in last rebel stronghold

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian pro-government media said their troops have captured two villages and a nearby hill in the last rebel stronghold in the country’s northwest — Idlib province.

The development is part of the latest push by government forces against the enclave that was launched last month. So far, dozens have been killed and over 150,000 have been displaced.

The pro-government Syrian Central Military Media said government forces captured the villages of Hawash and Jabrieh and Hawash hill on the southern edges of Idlib yesterday.

The area is near the strategic village of Kfar Nabuda that Syrian troops entered last week. Opposition activists reported government airstrikes and shelling of different areas in Idlib.

Much of Idlib is controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham insurgent group.

Syrian army soldiers flash the victory sign as they stand on their tank in the village of Kfar Nabuda, in the countryside of the Hama province. – AP