TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Syrian army has started an operation to eliminate al-Nusra Front terrorists, who have been surrounded in the eastern part of Idlib province, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Syrian government troops and militia units have started to eliminate a group of Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as al-Nusra Front) terrorist organization, numbering more than 1,500 fighters and surrounded in the eastern part of Idlib province. The militants are armed with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, field artillery systems and mortars," the statement said, Russian news agency Sputnik reported.

According to the ministry, over the past 24 hours, units of the Syrian army have advanced 3.7 miles to the north of Abu al-Duhour airbase and liberated 24 settlements from the militants.

They said the new achievement of restoring Abu al-Dhohour airport, pounding terrorists’ hideouts and dens in dozens of village, will speed up the army’s progress in the eastern countryside of Idlib province and pave the way for fully liberating it from terrorism.

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) also reported that the Syrian army has established full control over the Abu al-Dhohour airport and will speed up progress in the eastern countryside of Idlib to fully liberate it from terrorism.

The Abu al-Dhohour airport had been seized by al-Nusra Front terrorists in 2015.

The Syrian army, supported by allied forces, has been carrying out an anti-terrorist operation in the province for over a month.