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Rebels try to reenter strategic Syrian town hours before Erdoğan, Putin meeting

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Syrian rebel forces tried to enter the Syrian town of Saraqeb overnight but were repelled, the RIA news agency reported on Thursday, according to Reuters, hours before a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Rebels have resumed the shelling of the strategic town in the country’s northwestern Idlib province and the M5 highway that connects Damascus with Aleppo, RIA said.

The town was the scene of deadly clashes between Turkish-backed rebel groups and Syrian government forces and has changed hands several times over the past few weeks.

More than 50 Turkish soldiers have been killed along with rebels in the recently intensifying conflict.

Ankara and Moscow have been at odds due to Turkey’s latest military campaign in the Idlib region, with Russia backing Syrian regime forces. Erdoğan and Putin held a meeting in Moscow on Thursday.

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