Syrian Troops Capture 2 Villages in Last Rebel Stronghold

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

Smoke billows after reported shelling on the village of Rakaya Sijneh in Idlib province, Syria, May 1, 2019.
Muhammad Haj Kadour/AFP

Syrian pro-government media say 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 more than 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 on Monday.

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-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham insurgent group.