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Russia says airstrikes hit terrorists not populated areas in Syria’s Idlib

In this file picture, a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber lands at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, western Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry says its fighter jets have bombed the positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists in Syria’s militant-held northwestern province of Idlib, as Syrian government troops and allied fighters are preparing for a ground operation to liberate the territory.

The ministry, in a statement released on Wednesday, announced that the aerial attack had only pounded members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, dismissing allegations that it had struck populated areas.

The statement further noted that the planes involved in the airstrikes had taken off from the Russian-run Hmeimim air base in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday that Russian military aircraft had battered Idlib for the first time in three weeks.

“Russian warplanes resumed bombing Idlib province after a 22-day pause,” Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based monitor group, said.

He added that the aerial attacks came a day after militants in Idlib hit Syrian army positions in neighboring Latakia province, which killed three pro-government fighters.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Syrian army troopers, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have recently made major territorial gains in battles against Daesh and other foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire southern part of the country after securing the capital Damascus and other key areas.

The major militant stronghold remains in Idlib province, where government forces are preparing to launch a full-scale military offensive.

Takfiri militants are also in control of some areas of the western-central province of Hama, and are holding some desert regions near the border with Turkey.

Moreover, negotiations have been taking place between the political wing of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by the US, and the Syrian government on ways to end violence in Syria.

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