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Deadly clashes in Syria as Turkey-Russia talks end without agreement

EPA-EFE/YAHYA NEMAH
Smoke rises during government forces bombing on the village of Sarmin, near Idlib, Syria, 04 February 2020. According to Syrian official news reports, the Syrian army units launched an operation against the last rebel-held stronghold in Idlib and the surrounding areas. According to the UN, 520,000 people were displaced since the operations began in December 2019.

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Talks in Ankara between Turkey and Russia ended without agreement on stopping clashes in Syria.
According to Turkey’s defense ministry, five Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian army shelling on Monday. In the past week, Turkey had been deploying hundreds of military vehicles and troops to Syria’s Idlib province, according to Turkish media.
Heavy Russian and regime bombardment in the village of Abyan, Aleppo province, killed nine people, according to according to the British -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, and the Step news agency, an activist collective.
The war monitor reported that the attacks come as president Bashar Assad’s forces waged an offensive in Aleppo province to retake the important M5 highway for the first time in eight years. The M5 links Syria’s capital, Damascus, with the northern city of Aleppo. Sections of the road have been in rebel hands since 2012.
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels downed a helicopter believed to belong to the Syrian government near the town of Nairab, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.
According to the United Nations, hundreds of civilians have died in the latest fighting. The war in Syria started with a popular movement against Assad’s rule that was brutally repressed. More than 380,000 people were killed in nine years and about half of the country’s population is displaced.

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