Russia Resumes Air Strikes Against Rebels in Idlib, Say Monitors

04 September, 2018, 20:09 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Blasts at Damascus air base after possible missile strike

"Don't let that happen!"

The warplanes bombarded countryside around Jisr al-Shughour on the western edge of the rebel enclave of Idlib after weeks of lull, killing 13 civilians but no fighters, a war monitoring group said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will host his Turkish and Russian counterparts Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, respectively, on Friday in an attempt to find ways to end the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia has sent an armada of ships, including a Marshall Ustinov missile cruiser, to the coast of Syria in the Mediterranean, prompting speculation they were preparing for an imminent attack.

Idlib is regarded as the rebel forces' last stronghold in Syria.

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Zarif said in Damascus that those talks also would focus on the battle against remaining militant groups that are fighting government forces in Syria.

Half of Idlib's 3 million people have already been forced there from their homes in other parts of Syria, according to the United Nations, and any offensive there threatens new displacement and human misery.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was discussing joint action with Russian Federation to target terrorist groups in Idlib while avoiding a full-scale offensive.

Tehran and Moscow have provided steady political, financial and military backing to Assad throughout the war, which has left over 350,000 people dead since it broke out in 2011.

"Russia seeks to ensure not just the regime's military victory in Syria but its full political restoration through worldwide re-legitimation at war's end".

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But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday signaled strikes could be extended to Iraq if necessary.

Britain, France and the USA, which together launched limited attacks on Syrian installations in mid-April in retaliation for an alleged Syrian chemical attack, say their red line against illegal weapon use remains in force.

Behind the scenes, American diplomats have been actively warning Moscow, which has been accused in the past of turning a blind eye to chemical weapon use by its Syrian proteges.

"Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very risky, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, apparently in reference to Trump's comment.

Trump has sought better relations with Russian Federation since taking office in 2017 but the United States has been unable to rein in Moscow's military and diplomatic support for Assad.

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After seven years of war, the northern province of Idlib has become the rebels' final bastion.

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