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Syrian soldiers, allied fighters recapture 18 villages in Aleppo



Syrian forces have regained control over more than a dozen villages in the country’s northern province of Aleppo.

On Monday, Syrian soldiers and allied fighters restored security and stability to 18 villages, including Jarkes, al-Ismailiyah, Abajah, Mazra’a Abajah and Abu Tinah, killing a large number of Daesh extremists, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

They also destroyed an explosive-laden car and nine pickup trucks equipped with heavy machine guns.

Elsewhere, in the central province of Homs, Syrian troopers and fighters from popular defense groups targeted Daesh positions in al-Katibah al-Mahjourah and al-Baredah districts, besides the eastern outskirts of al-Qaryatayn town and the ancient city of Palmyra.

Syrian army units also struck the gatherings and positions of the terrorist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the northern village of al-Lataminah, located 39 kilometers northwest of Hama, killing many terrorists and destroying three vehicles belonging to them.

Syrian government forces take positions as they advance to retake the ancient city of Palmyra from Takfiri Daesh terrorists, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Moreover, Syrian army soldiers and their allies engaged in fierce clashes with Daesh Takfiris in the Maqabir district of the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr, located 450 kilometers northeast of the capital, Damascus, killing several terrorists and destroying their fortifications.

Terrorist mortar fire injures five in Syria’s Aleppo

Separately, foreign-backed militants have launched a mortar attack against a residential neighborhood in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, leaving at least five people injured. The mortar shells struck the Ghouta neighborhood of the city.

Several mortar shells also slammed into the Kurdish-populated Daseniyah Village of Homs Province, though no immediate reports of casualties were available.

‘Syrian children suffer staggering levels of trauma, distress’

Meanwhile, international aid group Save the Children says the nearly six-year-old militancy in Syria has caused a mental health crisis among the country’s children, and millions of Syrian children are living in a state of “toxic stress” due to prolonged exposure to the horrors of war.

The report by Save the Children and its partner agencies in Syria, entitled Invisible Wound, warned that the “staggering levels” of trauma and distress among children could cause permanent and irreversible damage.

It pointed out that 71 percent of children interviewed experienced frequent bedwetting and involuntary urination, which are the symptoms of toxic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Moreover, 48 percent of the adult interviewees said they had seen children, who had lost their ability to speak or begun to suffer from speech impediments since the outbreak of Syrian crisis.

Nearly half of those interviewed said children “regularly or always have feelings of grief or extreme sadness.” Aggression and substance abuse are also commonplace.

Young Syrian children stand in a destroyed street in the northwestern border town of al-Bab on February 23, 2017, after Turkish-backed militants fully captured the town from Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)

Doctors and mental health specialists maintain that toxic stress can disrupt the development of the brain and other organs and increase the risk of addiction and mental health disorders in adulthood.

“After six years of war, we are at a tipping point, after which the impact on children’s formative years and childhood development may be so great that the damage could be permanent and irreversible,” Dr Marcia Brophy, a psychosocial adviser for the Middle East at Save the Children, said.

She added, “The risk of a broken generation, lost to trauma and extreme stress, has never been greater.”

Save the Children stressed that some 13.5 million people inside Syria, including 5.8 million children, are in need of aid, and about 4.8 million people are trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

Syria has been plagued by militancy since March 2011.

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