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Report: Syrian troops retake major northern city
Report: Syrian troops retake northern city of Idlib from army defectors
By The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) ' A pro-government Syrian newspaper says regime forces have recaptured the northern city of Idlib.

Rebels have controlled Idlib for months, but government forces launched a siege on the city three days ago.

It was not immediately possible to confirm Tuesday's report in Al-Watan newspaper.



Calls to Idlib are not going through. But witnesses said this week that army defectors in the city have been running out of ammunition over the past few days.

Many feared the offensive in Idlib could end up like the regime's campaign against the rebel-held neighborhood of Baba Amr in the central city of Homs. Troops besieged and shelled Baba Amr for almost a month before capturing it on March 1.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BEIRUT (AP) ' An international human rights group says Syrian troops have planted landmines along routes used by people fleeing the country's violence and trying to reach neighboring Turkey.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says the mines were planted in the past weeks.

HRW says its report, released on Tuesday, is based on accounts from witnesses and also Syrian deminers. It cites witnesses as saying the landmines have already caused civilian casualties.

A Syrian official and witnesses told The Associated Press in November that Syria planted landmines along parts of its border with Lebanon. The official at the time said the mines aim to prevent arms smuggling.

Thousands of Syrians have fled to Turkey and Lebanon since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began a year ago.


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