The March 13 Russian strikes on weapons depots and some other facilities belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the city of Idlib caused fire and fury in Turkish media outlets, which run to defend ‘moderate rebels’ and accuse the Russians of ‘civilian casualties’.
The state-run news agency Anadolu claimed citing the White Helmets propaganda group that the strikes killed at least 2 civilians and injured 19 others, mostly children.
“Two civilians were killed and dozens injured in Russian airstrikes in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Wednesday, according to sources with the White Helmets civil defense agency.
The dawn attacks targeted a refugee camp in Kafr Amim village in the city of Saraqib, the sources said.
Nearly 19 people, mostly children, were injured in the attacks, the sources said.
According to a pro-opposition warplane observatory, the attacks were carried out by a Russian SU 34 plane that took off from Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia province.
Regime attacks in Idlib’s de-escalation zone are estimated to have killed at least 126 civilians — and injured more than 380 others — since the beginning of 2019,” the Anadolu report claimed.
Nationwide television news channel NTV citing own sources claimed that the airstrikes were not coordinated with Turkey. This version contradicts with a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry. Pro-government newspaper Hurriyet came with a series of reports accusing the Damascus government of violating the ceasefire regime in the Idlib de-escalaiton zone and reporting at least 40 civilian casualties as a result of these violations and Russian strikes on Idlib city.
Other Turkish media outlest are also reciting own best lines about the “bloody Assad regime” and the Russians that work against the ‘moderate opposition’ and threaten the de-escalation in northwestern Syria. Most Turkish media outlets have for a long time ignored mutliple ceasefire violations and even direct attacks by the al-Qaeda-style opposition on Syrian Army positinos and government-controlled civilian areas in northern Lattakia, northern Hama, southwestern Idlib and western Aleppo. Nonetheless, they immidiately reacted when the terrorists came under fire. This attitude is another indication that Ankara is not very interested in the real defeat of terrorism in Idlib because these will mean the defeat of forces, which it employs as proxies against the Damascus government.
A brief overview of the recent developments in northwestern Syria:
- Russian airstrikes hit weapon depots and other facilities belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib city;
- A militant rocket hit Lattakia city;
- Clashes between militants and local militais were reported in the Turkman Mount area;
- Pro-militant sources report artillery strikes in Lataminah and Khan Shaykhun;
- Sporadic firefights between the YPG and Turkish-backed militants are being reported in Mara and Kaljabrin.