Rebels Ramp up Civilian Attacks, Incur Heavy Losses in Idlib

Rebels Ramp up Civilian Attacks, Incur Heavy Losses in Idlib

Damascus (GPA) – Russian and Syrian forces struck over 100 jihadist targets across Idlib and Hama in the last 48 hours as part of their recently launched siege to liberate the last of opposition-held territory from terror attacks, strikes, and kidnappings aimed at intimidating civilians and stalling an eventual defeat.
idlib
Image: Wikimedia Commons

At the request of Damascus, Russia assisted Syrian forces in launching several airstrikes across the territory in the northern Al-Ghab plain starting Saturday morning and continuing through Sunday afternoon.

The Syrian Army successfully destroyed an ammunition depot and armored vehicle belonging to the Al-Ezza brigades in the Kafr Zita countryside as they struck various hideouts and locations of Jabhat al-Nusra and their allies Sunday. According to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), a state media news agency, the army unit also successfully destroyed shelling launching pads belonging to the brigade, where terrorists would launch shells towards residential areas.

Among the locations targeted include Jisr al-Shughour, just west of Idlib, where terrorists on Thursday met with White Helmets militants to discuss plans to stage another chemical attack. According to SANA, militants from the “Turkistani Party” and “Hai’et Tahrir al-Sham” have coordinated with White Helmets to identify target locations to launch false flag chemical attacks.

These are aimed at framing Damascus and ushering in a military response from the US, France, and UK which stated they would retaliate against “any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.”

New details Friday uncovered recent plans to stage a chemical attack against Syria.

According to SANA, militants from the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have coordinated with the White Helmets to identify key locations, where sarin and chlorine gas has been shipped, to launch the potential attack.

Related: Russian Defense: White Helmets, Armed Groups Plan Chemical Attack in Syria

The potential locations include Jisr al-Shughour, al-Hamawish, a town northwest of Hama, and Kafr Nubbul in the Idlib countryside. The jihadists have also abducted a number of children, ages two to ten, from the Salqin camp, and then taken from Jisr al-Shughour to an unknown area.

Russian Defense Major General Igor Konashenkov warned Saturday of a “terrorist provocation,” of which the details were expected to be finalized that same day.

The signal for the beginning of the practical phase of the terrorists’ provocation in the province of Idlib will be a special team from some ‘foreign friends of the Syrian revolution’,” he said, referring to a coalition of groups such as the White Helmets.

San Bruno based video sharing website YouTube shut down multiple Syria-based accounts on Saturday in attempts to enforce media blackouts against Syrian state and their allied forces.

Among the sources removed included the accounts of the Syrian Ministry of Defense, SANA News Agency, and the Syrian presidency.

The account terminations have been carried out allegedly to muddle footage and coverage of another chemical attack waged by rebels, with the intent of framing Damascus and thus providing the justification for the US and its allies to strike Syria.

Terrorists in Syria, with defeat imminent, waged various attacks against civilians, including four shells launched against residencies in Salhab city on Saturday, injuring a civilian, and two rocket shells in al-Suqaylabiyah in Hama Sunday, injuring three other civilians.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units responded by launching attacks against the terrorists’ launch sites, inflicting heavy losses in equipment and infrastructure of the jihadists and destroying the rocket launchers from the Saturday attack in Salhab.

Seeking to forestall their defeat in Idlib, the terrorists have also resorted to further kidnapping, torturing, and killing residents of various towns and villages in the Hama area. According to the Washington Post, members of HTS and other groups have arrested and kidnapped residents, including a doctor from a night raid in his home, as well as a street peddler during the day.

They have also constructed gallows in a public square aimed at publicly humiliating and torturing “traitors that worked on reconciliation agreements to the regime,” emphasizing a fate that would result in “death.”

Relate: Al-Nusra and ‘Israel’ Wage Strikes and Attacks in Syria’s Idlib and Hama

In addition, 9 residents, including 3 children, were killed in the mostly Christian village of Mhardeh Friday by jihadist rebels.

The Syrian Delegate to the U.N. Security Council Bashar al-Jaafari reaffirmed the Syrian government’s right to defend its nation against the onslaught of western and Turkish backed jihadist attacks.

“Any move by the Syrian government to expel terrorists from Idlib is a sovereign right of the draft,” al-Jaafari said, referring to various UN Security Council Resolutions on counterterrorism and the UN Charter.

“Liberating Idlib will be the final nail in the coffin of terrorism,” he said, also slamming the “illegal” presence of over 100 U.S. forces in Syria, currently stationed at its military base in al-Tanf, against the wishes of Damascus. The U.S. forces were also more directly called out by Russia over the weekend when Moscow accused them of intentionally dropping white phosphorous bombs in Deir Ez-Zor (which is illegal in civilian areas).