RNA - Syria's Arabic-language al-Masdar news agency, citing an unnamed military official from Division 30 of the Republican Guard, reported that government troops liberated Khan Tuman on Wednesday afternoon after fierce skirmishes with members of the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, commonly referred to as Tahrir al-Sham, terrorist group.
The source added that that the development came after Syrian army troops had seized all hilltops east of the town earlier in the day.
The capture of Khan Tuman will enable the Syrian army to secure areas lying on the 450-kilometer-long M5 highway that crosses the country from north to south, from Aleppo to the border with Jordan.
Earlier in the day, Syria's General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said in a statement that government forces were in full control of Ma'arrat al-Nu'man city, which lies 33 kilometers (21 miles) south of Idlib.
“Our armed forces continued operations in southern parts of Idlib with the aim of putting an end to crimes committed by terrorist groups, which continue to target safe zones, civilians and army posts with rockets and explosives,” the statement added.
It further noted that Syrian soldiers have managed to establish control over more than two dozen villages and towns, including Ma'ar Shimmareen, Tell Mannas, Maar Shamshah, Ma'ar Shoreen, al-Za'lanah, Babeela, al-Dana, al-Hamidiah, Bseideh, Tqana and Kafr Basin, after days of intense fighting with Takfiri militants.
The statement also underlined that the Syrian army will continue to carry out its constitutional, national and moral duties to purge the last remnants of terror outfits from the entire Syrian soil.
On Saturday, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates wrote to the United Nations, stressing that the operation in Idlib and Aleppo against Takfiri elements "will not stop until the elimination of those terrorists, who threaten safety and security of Syrian civilians."
The Syrian army declared the start of an offensive against foreign-sponsored militants in Idlib on August 5 last year.
It came after those positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.
Under the Sochi agreement, all militants in the demilitarized zone that surrounds Idlib, and also parts of the provinces of Aleppo and west-central province of Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17 2018, with the Takfiri groups having to withdraw two days earlier.