At least 16 Syrian soldiers killed in an al-Qaeda attack in northwest Syria

Al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked an army position in northwest Syria on Friday, killing at least 16 government soldiers and wounding others, al-Watan newspaper reported.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war watchdog, said sixteen soldiers died as well as three of the attackers, who belong to the al-Qaeda-linked Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, the strongest opposition group in northwest Syria.

At least five government soldiers were injured in the clashes that took place in Latakia's northern district of Wadi Rabeia, according to al-Watan.

Taher al-Omar, an opposition activist who closely follows HTS, said the attack in the northwestern province of Latakia killed 18 soldiers and several others.

The attack came less than a week after insurgents in northwest Syria attacked an army position, killing and wounding more than 30 troops.

In another part of north Syria, Turkey-backed opposition gunmen briefly captured the village of Mahsanli, which is controlled by Kurdish fighters. The Kurdish forces regained control of the village in a counteroffensive hours later, the Syrian Observatory said.

The Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, said the situation in Mahsanli was again under control after several Turkey-backed gunmen were killed.

Opposition activists reported a Russian airstrike on the village after it fell into the hands of opposition fighters.

A truce reached between Russia and Turkey in March 2020 that ended a Russian-backed government offensive on Idlib has been repeatedly violated, resulting in scores of people getting killed and wounded.

Syria’s 12-year conflict, which started with peaceful anti-government protests and unfolded into a war, has killed half a million people and displaced half the country’s prewar population of 23 million. More than 5 million Syrians are now refugees, most in neighboring countries.

News Code 159208

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