According to Syrian state media and Russian defense officials, rebels in Idlib province launched multiple assaults on government positions on Thursday, January 23. According to Russian officials, the operations began on late (local time) on Wednesday, January 22, with rebels capturing two settlements and forcing Syrian soldiers to withdraw from some of their positions. As many as 40 Syrian soldiers were also reportedly killed in the fighting. However, a spokesman for the National Liberation Front coalition disputed the claims on Thursday, stating that no operations had been launched on Wednesday or Thursday. International observers also said that government forces had not been attack but Russian and Syrian forces had carried out about 400 airstrikes in the area.
Operations by rebel and pro-government forces are expected to continue in Idlib province over the near term.
At least 39 soldiers were killed in an operation in Idlib on Wednesday January 15, and Thursday, January 16. The attack came amid a weak ceasefire agreement negotiated by Russia between the two parties.
To date, the Syrian conflict involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.