29 Jan 2020 22:05

Syrian army retakes control over 27 populated centers in Idlib - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) - Nearly 30 populated centers in the Idlib de-escalation areas have been freed from militants and are now controlled by the Syrian army, the head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, Maj. Gen. Yury Borenkov, said.

"To date, government forces in the liberated parts of the Idlib de-escalation area have regained control of 27 populated centers, where everything possible is also being done to swiftly get ordinary people back to normal life," Borenkov said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Law enforcement patrols have been organized in those areas, he said.

In Maaret al-Numan, where militants were fought off, the Syrian authorities in cooperation with the Russian military organized deliveries of food, radiators and other essentials, he said.

"Currently, the Syrian government is consistently applying efforts to restore civilian life in areas liberated from illegal armed formations," Borenkov said.

Between 30,000 and 50,000 internally displaced people have expressed their wish to return to the 27 populated centers, he said.

"Another 80,000 intend to return to the areas which were freed from militants last summer, once the infrastructure necessary for normal civilian life is rebuilt there," Borenkov said.