Russian warplanes carried out early on October 5 a series of airstrikes on militant’s positions in the southeastern Idlib countryside.
The airstrikes targeted the outskirt of the town of Ballisa and Agr Hilltop, both of which are under the control of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 9 terrorists were killed as a result of the airstrikes.
“These strikes came 22 days after the last Russian strikes on [Idlib’s] de-escalation region,” the monitoring group noted in its report.
Idlib’s de-escalation region, commonly known as the demilitarized zone, was supposed to be established around the governorate last year. However, HTS and its radical allies refused to implement the plan, which was agreed upon by Russia, Turkey and Iran.
The Russian airstrikes were likely a response to the repeated violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib. HTS and its allies are carrying out provocations on a daily basis, in what appears to be an attempt to sabotage the ceasefire.