Syrian troops battle Nusra militants in de-escalation zone: Russian military

Li Jiayao

MOSCOW, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Syrian government forces are repelling offensives of Nursra Front militants in the country's southern de-escalation zone, Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.

More than 1,000 militants of Nursra Front, the Syrian wing of al-Qaida, began to attack the Syrian army positions in the northeast of the southern de-escalation zone in the night to Saturday, the ministry said in a press release.

So far, five soldiers of the Syrian government forces have been killed and another 19 wounded, it said.

The so-called Free Syrian Army joined the government troops in the ongoing fight against the Nursra Front militants, according to the press release.

The defending forces have stopped the militants in some areas and they are taking measures to protect civilians, it said.

Last year, Jordan, the United States and Russia reached an agreement to establish a temporary de-escalation zone in southern Syria to help restore stability and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.


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