CAIRO, EGYPT - Syrian government forces continue to whittle away at Turkish-supported rebel forces inside Syria's besieged Idlib enclave, gaining more ground along the strategic Damascus-to-Aleppo highway. Despite warnings by both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron to halt the offensive, the Syrian army appears poised to capture another strategic town.
Syrian state TV reported Thursday that military advances, beginning with the recent capture of Maarat Naaman and 22 smaller towns, have "sparked a collapse in morale" among Turkish-supported rebel forces in Idlib province.
Turkish military forces, which have 12 observation posts ringing the Idlib enclave, attempted to reinforce rebel positions in a number of strategic locations, including Taftenaz Airport, as well as the towns of Binesh and Maarat Misreen. Syrian forces are now outside the strategic town of Saraqeb and appear poised to take it.
Erdogan said the Syrian government advance had caused an unacceptable "flood of a million [Syrian] refugees" toward Turkish territory in recent days. He demanded that government forces withdraw from areas close to Turkish army observation posts.
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