SOHR: Mercenaries withdraw from Khan Sheikhoun

A larger part of the Idlib region, as well as some areas in neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia are under the control of the Turkish-backed mercenaries.

Mercenaries withdrew from the town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib province and from their last remaining territory in neighboring Hama province after government troops advances in the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local activists said.

Syrian government forces advanced into the town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib late on Monday. The town had been in the hands of mercenaries since 2014. The opposition’s territorial foothold in neighboring Hama province dates back to the earliest days of the eight-year-long conflict.

Russian-backed Syrian government advances around Khan Sheihkoun had threatened to encircle mercenary fighters in their last remaining territory in northern Hama, including the towns of Latamneh and Kafr Zeita. The mercenaries quit those towns, local activists said.

The Observatory said the mercenaries who had stayed behind in that area had gathered at a Turkish military position in the town of Morek, in the territory abandoned by the mercenaries.

On the other hand, Reuters reports that a Syrian jihadist group said on Tuesday that mercenaries had redeployed in the southern part of the town of Khan Sheikhoun and still controlled towns in adjoining area of Hama province, after a war monitor said insurgents had withdrawn from the area.

“After ferocious bombardment by the criminal enemy forces ... the mujahideen last night repositioned in the south of Khan Sheikhoun town with the southern part still under the control of the mujahideen,” the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group said in a statement distributed on its Telegram channel.