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TOPSHOT - A member of the Syrian pro-government forces sits on a sofa in the strategic town of Salma, in the coastal Latakia province, on January 15, 2016, following its recapture from rebel fighters.  


Russia began air strikes last September aiding the Syrian regime in the recapture of territory such as the town of Salma, that became a rebel stronghold after its 2012 capture. Simultaneously, the army is seeking to encircle the city of Aleppo, advance in the south of central Hama province and east in Homs, and is on the offensive in the key rebel town of Sheikh Miskeen in southern Daraa province.

 

 / AFP / YOUSSEF KARWASHAN        (Photo credit should read YOUSSEF KARWASHAN/AFP/Getty Images) YOUSSEF KARWASHAN, VASILY MAXIMOV
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