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Russian Warplanes Pound Idlib Ahead of Astana Meeting

Russian Warplanes Pound Idlib Ahead of Astana Meeting

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 - 05:45
The Syrian city of Idlib. Reuters file photo
Beirut - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Russian warplanes launched on Tuesday a series of attacks on the countryside of Idlib in the northwest of the country on the eve of the 12th international high-level meeting on Syria, which is part of the Astana process.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a squadron of Russian fighter jets carried out 12 airstrikes in areas in the vicinity of Idlib central prison and the towns of Faylun, Korin, and Bkaflun, causing destruction and material damage in some farms. There was no information on civilian casualties.

The UK-based watchdog said the attack took place after intense reconnaissance flights.

The Observatory said the Russian strikes came following coordination with Turkey, which backs several rebel groups in Idlib.

Russia’s Sputnik agency reported that Russian reconnaissance planes tracked hostile movements and armed build-ups of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, saying its warplanes launched 18 airstrikes on the group’s positions in the governorate.

The agency added that HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani chaired a meeting for rebel factions to repel an attack by the Syrian regime on the countryside of the governorate.

Kazakhstan will host a fresh round of Syria talks on April 25-26 in its capital, recently renamed from Astana to Nur-Sultan.

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