Syrian army shells areas held by insurgents in northwest

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Syria’s state media says artillery shelling by government forces has pounded parts of the northwestern Idlib province where militants were trying to infiltrate.

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SANA said Saturday’s shelling focused on the town of Tamanaa near Maaret al-Numan that was taken this week by al-Qaida-linked militants from Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government shelled six areas in and near Idlib province.

Earlier this month, members of the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS, took over control of Idlib province and the surrounding countryside after forcing rival insurgents to accept a deal for a civil administration run by HTS in their areas.

The developments threaten to derail a cease-fire in the area reached in September between Turkey and Russia.

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