Syrian regime forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, continued on Friday to advance in north Hama, controlling more areas in the buffer zone, which was created in the Sochi deal inked between Russia and Turkey last September.
Informed sources said that Moscow sent its developed T-90S tanks to support regime forces fighting in northwestern Syria.
Russia also provided air cover by striking opposition-held sites in the buffer zone, cities and towns in the countryside of Idlib, Hama and Latakia.
Six members of the regime forces and their allied militias were killed on Friday in an operation launched by the FSA National Liberation Front and other opposition fighters on the axis of Telat Rashou in Latakia’s countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Assad’s forces have been struggling to make huge progress in more than three months of military operations in the northwest, the last major foothold of opposition groups in Syria.
The Observatory said that 3,032 people have been killed since the start of the fierce battles in the buffer zone.
Separately, Russia accused the UN of providing “false data” on the coordinates of civilian sites in Idlib, as outrage rises over the apparent bombardment of schools and hospitals in the area.
Russia’s envoy to the UN in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov said on Friday that the UN’s civilian site tracking in Idlib was based on “false data.”
Gatilov said Turkey could help ease civilian suffering in Idlib by delivering on its promise to separate “terrorists” from civilians in the region.
This week, the UN’s Syria humanitarian chief, Panos Moumtzis, told reporters that over the last 100 days his office had confirmed air strikes on “39 health facilities, 50 schools, water points, markets, bakeries and multiple civilian neighborhoods.”