For the first time in weeks, Russian warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes on several positions of militants in the northern governorate of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 4.
According to the UK-based monitoring group, the Russian airstrikes targeted the towns of al-Tamanah and Khan Shaykhun in the southern Idlib countryside. No civilians were reportedly hurt.
The new airstrikes were a clear response to the militant’s repeated violations of the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone agreement. Earlier, the Ministry of Defense of Russia revealed that a Syrian service member was killed in a recent violation.
This was the second wave of Russian airstrikes on the opposition-held area in northwestern Syria since the implementation of the demilitarized zone agreement. Last November, Russian warplanes eliminated militants responsible for the chemical attack on the city of Aleppo, which injured more than 100 civilians.
Syrian pro-government sources warned that Russia and its allies are not willing to tolerate the hostile behavior of the militants and Turkey’s negative attitude for a long time. Today’s airstrikes are likely a first step to deter the militants and pressure Ankara to force it to fulfil its commitments.