On August 20, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out intense airstrikes on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, where several terrorist groups are active.
The airstrikes targeted the outskirts of the town of Ein Shib in the western Idlib countryside as well as the outskirts of town of Qurqnia in the northern countryside of the governorate. The nature of the targets is yet to be revealed. So far, no casualties have been reported.
— شبكة عاجل سوريا (@syria55s) August 20, 2021
A day earlier, as series of Russian airstrikes wiped out a headquarters of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) near Ein Shib. The terrorist group is the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib.
The intense Russian airstrikes on Greater Idlib came amid reports of unusually movements by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) around the region.
According to pro-government forces, the army and its allies placed their troops on Greater Idlib frontlines on high-alert on the morning of August 19. Within the past 24, the army pounded the al-Zawyia Mount in the southern countryside of Idlib with dozens of rockets and shells.
The SAA and its allies, including Russian forces, may be preparing to launch a ground operation in Greater Idlib to deter HTS and its allies. The militants violate the ceasefire in the region, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey last year, on a daily basis.
Any ground operation in Greater Idlib will likely lead to a serious confrontation with Turkish forces, which maintain a strong presence in the region.
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