On 28 January 2020, Assad regime has recaptured a significant town in Syria’s last rebel-held territory, in an offensive that has driven tens of thousands of people towards the border with Turkey
According to Assad’s government media, Assad soldiers entered Maarat al-Numan in northwest Edlib province on 28 January 2020 under the cover of heavy air strikes.
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The town sits on one of Syria’s important economic highways, making it a strategic target. Maarat al-Numan also has symbolic importance as one of the major centres for protest against Assad’s rule since the Syrian uprising began in 2011.
The town has been bombed by Assad and his Russian allies for months, forcing its 110,000 residents to flee. In recent days Assad’s troops have surged forward, capturing more than a dozen villages in the area and encircling the town on three sides.