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Syrian Opposition Activists Claim Russian Warplanes Are Bombing Greater Idlib Once Again

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Syrian Opposition Activists Claim Russian Warplanes Are Bombing Greater Idlib Once Again

2712070 10/04/2015 Russian servicemen attach a Kh-25 high-precision missile to a Su-24 aircraft at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. Dmitriy Vinogradov/RIA Novosti

Late on June 3, opposition activists claimed that warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) carried out a series of airstrikes on Greater Idlib.

According to the activists, the airstrikes hit targets in northwestern Hama, southwestern Idlib and northern Lattakia. One of the targets was near the town of Sirmaniyah, a stronghold of terrorist groups such as the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP).

If these reports are confirmed, these would be the first Russian airstrikes on Greater Idlib since March 5, when Russia and Turkey reached a de-escalation agreement on the region.

A day earlier, opposition activists made similar claims, accusing the VKS of carrying out airstrikes on northwest Hama and other areas. These claims turned out to be untrue. Russian warplanes dropped munitions which exploded in the air, not on the ground.

Greater Idlib militants are currently preparing for a possible large-scale attack by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies. A day earlier, militants declared a “military zone” in the southern Idlib countryside.

Turkey is yet to fulfill its commitments under the March 5 agreement. This could force the SAA to launch an operation in the region, mainly to secure the M4 highway that links Lattakia and Aleppo.

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