At least 33 pro-regime fighters were killed Sunday in attacks mounted by jihadist groups near Idlib province, in the deadliest day in six months for loyalist forces, a monitor said. Twenty-seven fighters were killed in two attacks by Ansar al-Tawhid jihadists, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Five jihadists were also killed," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based monitoring group. Ansar al-Tawhid has ties to the larger Hurras al-Deen group, which is also active in the area of northwest Syria. Both are considered semi-official’s franchises of Al-Qaeda in Syria. The foreign ministry said Syria "will not allow terrorists and those who are behind them to carry on with their attacks against innocent civilians and the armed forces".
The area of Idlib and small parts of the adjacent provinces of Hama and Aleppo are mostly controlled by the rival Hayat Tahrir al-Sham organisation.
HTS is led by fighters who formerly belonged to Al-Qaeda's ex-affiliate in Syria.
The attacks by Ansar al-Tawhid were carried out against regime positions in Masasna, a village in Hama province, the Observatory said.
A military source quoted by state news agency SANA confirmed soldiers had been killed and wounded in the attacks on their positions near Idlib province.
Earlier, several Islamic State group jihadists and dozens of civilians, including foreigners, quit the last IS-held pocket in eastern Syria, US-backed forces said. Backed by air strikes by the US-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces have already retaken most of the village. “A convoy of trucks entered Baghouz to transfer jihadists and their relatives out to SDF-held territory,” said SDF spokesman Adnan Afrin. IS, which in 2014 declared a cross-border "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, has been expelled from all the land it held except for a patch of Baghouz village.
US President Donald Trump surprised the world and his country as well when he suddenly announced that the US is pulling out its troops from Syria. "In Syria, Erdogan said he wants to knock out ISIS, whatever's left, the remnants of ISIS. And Saudi Arabia just came out and said they are going to pay for some economic development. Which is great, that means we don't have to pay. We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous," Trump added.