Syrian regime forces have opened a "humanitarian corridor" in the war-torn country's north-western Idlib province in order to let people exit the opposition-held territory and cross over to regime territory, Syrian state news reported today. Syrian government forces have been on the offensive in Idlib and northern parts of Hama province since April 30, forcing almost half a million people to flee to safer areas further north.
Tens of thousands of people have fled toward the Turkish border in recent days as air and ground attacks battered parts of Idlib and Hama in the northwest, the last big rebel stronghold.
The report also indicated that the army-backed forces have surrounded an area stretching from the south of Khan Sheikhun into northern Hama province, cutting off all roads out for Turkish military forces present in the nearby town of Morek.
Idlib's main insurgent group on Tuesday pulled out of the strategic town of Khan Sheikhoun, which had been held by rebels since 2012, as government forces advanced amid intense bombardments and airstrikes.
The UN issued a warning that 3 million people in northwestern Syria are at dire risk if the regime continues its offensive against civilians and the civilian infrastructure.
The government said it would provide shelter, food and medical care for civilians who chose to leave the region. Many poured into the region after fleeing fighting in other parts of Syria that President Bashar al-Assad recovered with Russian Federation and Iran's help.
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The Syrian army has been engaged in battles with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in Khan Shaykhun since last week.
The Observatory said the hospital was struck four times but that it had been evacuated hours earlier.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian warplanes struck an area almost 300 meters (yards) from the Turkish military post.
According to the Turkish defence ministry, the convoy had been sent to keep open supply routes, ensure the safety of the observation post and protect civilians in the region.
Regime jets fired heavy machine guns near observation point 8 in Maaret al Numan, in southeastern Idlib -- which is meant to be a de-militarised zone -- Turkish officials said.
The United Nations says hundreds of people have been killed since the offensive began in late April.