The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has said it is “extremely concerned” by reports that a staff member at the consulate in its former colony of Hong Kong has been detained in mainland China. Simon Cheng did not return to work on August 9 after visiting the neighbouring mainland city of Shenzhen the previous day, Hong […]
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian warplanes returned to target Idlib province in northwestern Syria after a 22-day standstill, according to the Syrian Observatory, while the Kremlin refused to warn US President Donald Trump of an attack on it, saying it had become a breeding ground for terrorism. And Moscow announced that the regular Syrian army was “preparing to solve” the problem of “terrorism” in Idlib, at a time when Turkey pushed a convoy of military reinforcements to its units operating in Syria.
Russian warplanes launched raids on several areas in Idlib yesterday, according to the Syrian Observatory. The director of the Observatory Rami Abdul Rahman said that the bombing comes «after a pause lasted 22 days and reach several areas in the south and south-west of the province» controlled by the Sham Liberation Organization such as Jisr al-Shughour or opposition factions such as Jericho. Nine civilians, including five children, were killed and 10 others wounded, according to the observatory, which indicated that the children belonged to one family and were killed in a raid on the city of Jisr al-Shughour. The raids, according to Abdul Rahman, «the day after targeting the fighting factions in Idlib sites of the regime forces in the province of Latakia, killing three elements». In the town of Muhambal in the south-west of Idlib, a fire broke out at a petrol station targeting an air strike, and the Civil Defense team was working to extinguish it.
The Russian raids came four days before the summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The summit is expected to determine the future of Idlib, which along with parts of the provinces bordering it is the last area of the three-state tension reduction agreement. And comes the day after US President Donald Trump warned Damascus against launching an attack in Idlib. He said in a tweet on Twitter, that «Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not to attack recklessly Idlib province. The Russians and the Iranians will commit a grave human error if they take part in this potential human tragedy. ” “Hundreds of thousands of people can be killed. Do not let this happen. ” The head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Danford, warned yesterday that a major Syrian military operation in the Idlib region would lead to a humanitarian disaster and instead recommended specific small-scale operations against militants there. “If major military operations are carried out, we expect a humanitarian disaster, and I think we all want to avoid that,” Danford, a Marine general, told reporters during a visit to Athens.
Analysts believe that it is impossible to move militarily in Idlib without consensus between the three countries, including Ankara, which fears that any attack will cause a new wave of refugees. “The situation in Idlib remains of particular interest to Moscow, Damascus, Ankara and Tehran,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “We know that the Syrian armed forces are preparing to solve this problem.” “This is undermining the efforts to reach a political-diplomatic settlement in Syria,” he said. “The main thing is that it poses a great threat to our military bases in Syria.
Meanwhile, Turkish security sources announced yesterday that the Turkish army sent more military reinforcements to its units operating inside Syria. The news agency quoted the sources as saying that the military reinforcements entered the Syrian territory through the city of Kalis in southern Turkey, and included eight trucks loaded with tanks and guns (Hauser). She added that military teams accompanied the reinforcements under security measures during the transfer to the Syrian side of the border.