Syrian regime forces faced fierce resistance from jihadists as they fought to capture a key airbase in the northwestern province of Idlib on Thursday, a monitor said.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday he should stop Syrian attacks on its opposition in northern Syria if he wants peace negotiations to succeed, Turkish presidential sources said.
The area is part of a de-escalation zone agreement in the Kazakh capital Astana past year between Turkey, which supports rebel groups, and Assad allies Iran and Russian Federation.
A Turkish military armoured vehicle guards on the border line located opposite the Syrian town of Atimah, Idlib province, in this picture taken from Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey October 10, 2017.
Syrian state media Friday cited field commanders as saying Turkey helped anti-government rebels launch a counterattack against the Syrian army and its allies in the northwest this week, underlining recent regional tensions over the fighting.More news: Durant loses match, but becomes second-youngest to reach 20000 points
"We are witnessing a clear intensification of Russia's military strategy, with systematic attacks on civilian facilities perpetrated with total disregard for worldwide law", warns Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairperson of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
Idlib province is nearly entirely held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist outfit dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate.
"The operation is to hit the belly of the regime deep into liberated territories and to encircle their advancing forces", said Abdul Hakim al Rahamon, a senior official in Jaish al Nasr, an FSA faction taking part.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denied claims by the French Foreign Ministry about the Syrian army's targeting of hospitals and civilians during the military campaign in Idlib.