IDLIB, Syria/ANKARA, Turkey (AA) - Syria’s Assad regime, backed up by Russian fighter jets and the Daesh terrorist group, have seized over 3,000 square kilometers of opposition-held territory in southern and southeastern Idlib within the last three months, according to measurements carried out by Anadolu Agency.
Regime forces secured eastern Hama in October of last year, allowing Daesh terrorists to enter several parts of Idlib, which is held by opposition forces and armed anti-regime groups.
Operating in coordination, both Daesh and Assad regime forces have advanced far into Idlib following three months of intensive Russian airstrikes on opposition positions.
According to cartographical measurements conducted by Anadolu Agency, regime forces have seized roughly 3,035 square kilometers in eastern and southeastern Idlib, leaving Daesh in control of over 100 villages in the area.
Such actions on the part of the Assad regime constitute blatant violations of a cease-fire agreement endorsed by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran during earlier peace talks held in Kazakh capital Astana.
While both Daesh and Assad regime forces advance into southeastern Idlib, Russian fighter jets continue to pound opposition-held positions in the region.
Located in northern Syria near the border with Turkey, Idlib falls squarely within a network of de-escalation zones -- guaranteed by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Held largely by armed anti-regime groups, the province has remained the target of fierce airstrikes for the last three months.
In January alone, 211 civilians were reportedly killed -- and another 1,447 injured -- by continued attacks by the regime and its allies.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with disproportionate force and unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, while millions more have been forced to flee from their homes, according to statements by UN officials.