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Syrian regime preparing phased Idlib assault: source

Syrian dictator Assad's army, allied militia control air base in Idlib
Syrian regime forces are preparing a phased offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib and surrounding areas, the last big rebel enclave, a source close to Damascus said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s main backer from outside the region, said on Wednesday that militants there must be liquidated and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described them as “a festering abscess”.
Turkey, which borders Idlib and has a small military presence there, has however warned against such an attack.
The offensive would initially target southern and western parts of the insurgent territory, but not yet Idlib city, said the source, an official in the regional alliance backing Assad.
“The final touches for the first stage will be completed in the coming hours,” the official added, without saying when it would start.
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