Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Syria's War: Warplanes hit Idlib targets as fears of battle mount

Explosions at a Syrian military airport close to Damascus War monitor says blasts in Syria airport killed two
Ray Hunter | 04 September, 2018, 20:11

Russian Federation said on Tuesday that the Syrian regime army is getting ready to solve the problem of "terrorism" in the rebel stronghold of Idlib, apparently referring to a looming regime offensive.

The sources said the warplanes hit civilian residential areas in Jisr al-Shughur City; areas of Basanqul, Ghani, Innab, Sirmaniyah, west of Idlib; Zayzun area, north of Hama; as well as the opposition's frontlines.

Syrian government forces are now massing around the northwestern province in preparation for the assault.

During their meeting, Zarif and Assad "asserted that the pressures from some Western states on Syria and Tehran will not deter the two countries from continuing to defend their principles", the Syrian president's office said in a statement.

"We know that the Syrian armed forces are getting ready to solve this problem", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, calling Idlib a "pocket of terrorism".

"Terrorists must be purged" from Idlib and Syrian government control of the province restored, Zarif said in Damascus, according to Iranian media.

Russian air raids ceased in and around Idlib on August 15, but pro-Syrian regime forces have maintained an aerial bombardment and shelling against opposition fighters there, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy", Trump tweeted.

He added: "Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed".

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The situation around Idlib will be one of the main items on the agenda when the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet in Tehran this week, Peskov told reporters on a conference call, declining to elaborate further. "Don't let that happen!"

Zarif said it was necessary to consult "with our Syrian friends" ahead of the September 7 summit, according to Fars.

Nearly two million people now in the area have already fled fighting in other parts of Syria.

Assad's forces and their allies have massed for an attack on Idlib, and the USA and France have each warned that the Syrian dictator may resort to chemical weapons in the assault.

The country, which backs several opposition groups in Syria, has set up observation points around the rebel stronghold and has been seeking to stop a full-scale state offensive.

Asked about Trump's tweet, Peskov said such warnings do not consider "the risky and negative potential" of the rebel-held enclave and show that the White House does not have a "comprehensive approach" to solving the Syria crisis.

"Russia seeks to ensure not just the regime's military victory in Syria but its full political restoration through global re-legitimation at war's end".

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