Alwaght- Syrian army has managed to liberate the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun from militant and terrorist groups in the northwest of the country, local activists and a war monitor have said.
"Khan Shaikhoun has become completely surrounded by government forces and rebel fighters withdrew early on Tuesday," Suleiman Abdulqader, a local activist in southern Idlib, told Al Jazeera.
"They moved towards the north and east for now in an attempt to prevent troops from advancing to new points," he said.
The Syrian troops, backed by Russia militarily, entered Khan Shaikhoun, one of the province's largest towns, on Monday for the first time since they lost control of it in 2014.
The militants who withdrew were from Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group, al-Qaeda affiliate, from Jaish al-Izza and from the Turkish-backed al-Jabha al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir (the National Liberation Front, NLF) - a loose coalition of militant groups.
On Monday, Syrian air force struck a Turkish military convoy that has crossed into Syria’s Idlib province, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, adding that the convoy was heading to Khan Sheikhoun.
The town serves as a major bastion for Takfiri terrorists in northwestern Idlib province.
Idlib remains the only large area in the hands of foreign-backed terrorists after the Syrian army, backed by Iran and Russia, managed to wrest back control of almost all of the country's land, undoing militants’ gains.
The government forces have gained more ground against Takfiri militants in the southern edge of Idlib in their latest offensive that was launched last week.