Russia has informed the U.S. that the ongoing military operation around Idlib is “limited,” U.S. Special Representative For Syria James Jeffrey revealed during a recent interview with the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
“I don’t want to get into details, Russia clearly told us that this [attack on Idlib] is a limited operation in response to the repeated shelling on the Hmeimim airbase by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). There was attacks on the Russian base, yet we can’t verify this,” Jeffery said in the interview, which was released on May 10.
Earlier this month, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, launched a military operation against terrorist groups stationed within the demilitarized zone around Idlib. These groups launched several attacks on Russian and Syrian forces, as well as civilian areas in the last few months.
The U.S. diplomat said that his country is communicating with Russia, Turkey and the Syrian opposition in order to stop the operation. However, he stressed that the U.S. will rely only on political and economic measures to achieve this goal.
“U.S. President Donald Trump had stated in September that a comprehensive attack on Idlib would constitute a reckless act, not only out of concern over the possible use of chemical weapons, but also because it would lead to a flow of refugees and displaced,” Jeffery added.
The U.N. Security Council will hold a meeting later today to discuss the escalation around Idlib. Belgium, Germany and Kuwait, three non-permanent council members, requested the closed-door meeting two days ago.
Despite this pressure, the SAA will likely continue its military operation, that appears to be limited to the demilitarized zone around Idlib.