Jan 06, 2019 12:36 UTC
  • Syria sends reinforcements to Hama, Idlib amid clashes

The Syrian army has reportedly dispatched military equipment, including artillery, armored vehicles and personnel carriers, to the outskirts of the western provinces of Hama and Idlib.

According to Press TV, an informed military source, cited by Russia's Sputnik news agency, said the military build-up is meant to boost readiness against any possible change on the ground following the fresh bout of infighting among terrorists. 

Syrian army bases and residential areas have come under stepped-up attacks by terrorist groups, especially al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) which is currently engaged in fighting with Turkish-backed militants. 

The military source said the Syrian government cannot remain indifferent to the assaults which breach a ceasefire brokered between Russia, Turkey and Iran in September 2017.

The so-called safe zones declared in Idlib have seen HTS terrorists attacking Turkish-backed militants from the so-called National Front for Liberation (NFL) in a bid to seize key roads in the province and gain ground in neighboring Hama.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has put the death toll from the skirmishes in the upwards of 100, including civilians, but pan-Arab al-Mayadeen television has cited a fatality count of more than 500.

The clashes have raised concerns that the deal to set up de-escalation zones in the region could unravel.  

In a joint declaration issued on Friday, local councils in Syria called for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor as clashes spread to urban areas. 

The tensions come amid contradictory statements made by US officials about the American military pullout from Syria.