Hundreds of fighters have attempted to break through Syrian Army lines, losing dozens of militants in the process while inflicting heavy casualties on government troops who eventually had to retreat.

Almost 600 fighters staged six attacks on Syrian forces, the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria told the media on Thursday. “In the wake of the offensive, government troops left their positions in the southeastern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone,” it said.

The message didn’t reveal details of the firefight, but the number of casualties suggests that it was fierce and took a heavy toll on both sides. Up to 40 Syrian soldiers were killed and around 80 were wounded while repelling the attacks. Militants are thought to have lost up to 50 people with 90 injured.

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