Rebel fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement walk on a hill in Jabal al-Arbaeen, which overlooks the northern town of Ariha, one of the last government strongholds in the Idlib province May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo
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Militants have killed at least eight Syrian government troops near a planned buffer zone around the country's last major rebel bastion, an activist group said Saturday.The attack was led by fighters of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda branch which is the dominant force in Idlib, the Britain-based activist group said.The de-militarized zone was announced by rebel backer Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow in September to separate government troops from rebel fighters in Idlib and adjacent areas.The deadly militant assault came hours after government troops killed 23 fighters of a formerly U.S.-backed rebel group inside the planned buffer zone.
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