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Undeclared US airstrike on Syria’s Idlib leaves multiple casualties, puts truce at risk – MoD

Undeclared US airstrike on Syria’s Idlib leaves multiple casualties, puts truce at risk – MoD
Sending no warning to Russia or Turkey, the US bombed an array of targets within Idlib, Syria, killing numerous civilians and threatening the hard-earned truce across the province, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The air raid led to “multiple casualties and destruction” around two villages in the Idlib province, where a fragile ceasefire between government forces and militants is still in place, the Russian Reconciliation Center said on Sunday. The airstrike, carried out on Saturday, “endangered the truce” and “violated all previous arrangements.”

Earlier, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said it targeted leaders of a group it calls al-Qaeda in Syria. The strike “will further degrade their ability to conduct future attacks and destabilize the region,” it claimed. 

But it hit shortly after Syrian government forces began a unilateral truce in the rebel-held province, Russia’s Defense Ministry noted. The Syrian Army is still sticking to the ceasefire despite militant attacks provoked by the US bombing.

Also on rt.com Syrian armed forces to cease fire in Idlib de-escalation zone on Saturday – Russian military

Simultaneously, all combat sorties inside Syria were brought to a halt, the ministry said, rebuking US accusations about Russian “indiscriminate airstrikes” in Idlib.

Forces loyal to the government launched a major offensive on Idlib back in April and made significant advances last month. After days of fierce battles, they managed to liberate strategic locations, including Khan Sheikhoun, a town which had remained a rebel stronghold for years.

Still, a part of the province remains in the hands of a host of jihadist groups that continue to fight against the Damascus government. Hostilities between the Syrian army and the militants were mitigated through a joint diplomatic effort by Russia, Turkey and Iran to create a lasting peace in north-eastern Syria.

READ MORE: Turkey fuming after Syrian airstrike on convoy in Islamist-held Idlib province

In September last year, the three nations agreed to create a 30km buffer zone dividing opposing forces, as part of an extended ceasefire.

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