Syrian government troops entered a strategic town in the country’s last rebel stronghold Thursday after fierce clashes with opposition fighters, even as Turkey sent reinforcements seeking to curtail the offensive.
The push by Bashar al-Assd’s forces into towns and villages in the northwestern Idlib province has caused the displacement of more than a half million people in just over two months, compounding a humanitarian disaster in the region packed with internally displaced people. It has also angered Turkey and risked a military confrontation between Turkish and Syrian troops.
The town of Saraqeb, near the Turkish border, has been at the center of intense fighting for days. Opposition fighters pushed out government soldiers who entered it Wednesday, while Turkey sent in new reinforcements Thursday and threatened to use force to compel the Syrian forces to retreat by the end of the month.