At least 70 jihadist fighters and military soldiers were killed over the past 24 hours during battles in Syria's Aleppo province, a monitor group reported on Wednesday. The Syrian army backed by Russian airstrikes has been engaged in intense battles against several jihadist groups in areas in the southern countryside of Aleppo since Tuesday noon, Xinhua news agency quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.
Pro-regime fighters backed by regime and Russian air strikes retook the villages of Zaytan and Khalasa to the southwest of Aleppo city after losing them several hours earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Syrian government said on Wednesday French and German forces were present in northern Syria, an accusation denied by Germany.
Syrian state media said the government strongly condemned the presence of French and German forces in Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani, and Manbij. "Syria…considers it explicit and unjustified aggression towards (Syria's) sovereignty and independence," state news agency SANA quoted the foreign ministry as saying. Germany's defence ministry denied that German special forces were in northern Syria and said repeated claims by the Syrian government to this effect were not and had never been true. "There are no German special forces in Syria. The accusation is false," a ministry spokesman said.