Heavy airstrikes target rebel positions in northern Syria: war monitor

DAMASCUS, May 16  — A total of 112 air bombardments targeted rebel positions in northern Syria on Thursday, a war monitor reported.

The airstrikes targeted areas in the countryside of the provinces of Hama and Idlib, as well as part of Latakia Province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The London-based watchdog said the Syrian army has captured 16 villages in the northern countryside of Hama since the beginning of the campaign last month.

The Syrian government said the campaign came in response to the rebels’ attacks and infiltration attempts into Syrian military sites in the region.
Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Areas in the countryside of Hama, Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo are included in the de-escalation zones deal which was reached between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.
The deal failed to materialize as the HTS expanded in Idlib and started attacks on Syrian military positions instead of withdrawing from the designated zone which combines Idlib with Hama and Aleppo countryside – XINHUA