Russian Federation resumes air strikes on Syria's Idlib - war monitor

Explosions at a Syrian military airport close to Damascus

Explosions at a Syrian military airport close to Damascus

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russian Federation not to "recklessly attack" Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, warning that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

The SOHR said the air strikes were in the countryside near Jisr Al Shughour on the western edge of the rebels' northwestern territory.

Syrian rebel fighters prepare for an upcoming government offensive, in the countryside of the rebel-held northern Idlib province, on September 3, 2018.

Zarif paid a day-long visit to Damascus on Monday and held talks with the country's senior officials, including President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem and Prime Minister Imad Khamis, as Syria is preparing for an operation to liberate Idlib Province, the last major militant stronghold.

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"We do know that the Syrian armed forces are getting ready for tackling this problem", Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media.

De Mistura told reporters that ongoing talks between Russian Federation and Turkey held the key to averting an assault on the region, but six reported air strikes on Tuesday suggested the Ankara talks were not going well.

It follows comments by Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, that "terrorists must be purged" from Idlib and the entire northwestern province returned to government control.

Russian air raids ceased in and around Idlib on August 15, but pro-regime forces have maintained an aerial bombardment and shelling there, the war monitor said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 9 people killed.

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The visit comes days before the leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russian Federation are expected to meet in Iran to discuss the situation in Idlib. "Don't let that happen!"

But Russia and Iran have insisted that extremist groups in Idlib must be defeated and are expected to back regime forces in any assault.

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

President Trump warned Assad against a potential upcoming offensive, tweeting "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province". "Terrorist groups [in Idlib] have mixed with the people", said Abbas Araqchi, deputy foreign minister, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. "It is from there (Idlib) that drones are launched to threaten our temporary bases [in Syria]", Peskov said. The apparent attack came just hours after US President Donald Trump warned against reckless actions by Assad and his allies in the region.

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

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