Syrian army continues operation against "armed groups" in north: report
Syrian army units are carrying on with "delicate" operations in the northern mountainous area of Jabal al-Zaweya and Maraat al-Nouman on the borders with Turkey to hunt down "armed terrorist groups" that terrorized local residents into fleeing to Turkey, private al-Watan newspaper reported Tuesday.
Army units started swift and wide operations in some villages on the southern edge of Jabal al-Zaweya area after armed groups fled towards mountains, al-Watan said, adding that residents of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, who fled the violence at home and streamed into Turkey, are gradually returning home after the army restored security in town, Xinhua reported.
It said about 360 people returned Monday to Jisr al-Shughour, adding that life in the town is returning to normal.
The Turkish authorities said a total of 15,315 Syrian nationals fled to Turkey and 5,406 of them have returned to their country until Monday.
The Syrian leadership has recently unleashed a full-scale army operation in the northern edge along the borders with Turkey following the alleged killing of 120 security agents and the discovery of three mass graves with mutilated bodies of army officers.
Army reinforcements were sent to the violence-hit area in the wake of the appeals by residents urging the army to interfere to put an end to the armed gangs, which, according to Syria's official news agency, have pushed the residents to flee to Turkey.
The northern edge of Syria has witnessed the fiercest clashes in the country since the eruption of protests in mid March.