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On December 24, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a new series of airstrikes on militants’ positions in the northern Lattakia countryside.
The airstrikes targeted the outskirts of the town of Kabani. Photos shared by opposition activists show smoke rising from several hills in the town’s vicinity, where a complex network of tunnels, trenches and fortifications was built over the last two years.
— مصعب الأشقر (@mosabashkar88) December 24, 2020
— Hadi khrat (@hadikhraat) December 24, 2020
Kabani is occupied by a number al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, including Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Army and Ajnad al-Kavkaz.
Last week, a number of Russian airstrikes hit the hills surrounding the town. At least one militant was killed and several others were injured.
The new wave of Russian airstrikes on Kabani coincided with intense shelling by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on the southern Idlib countryside. SAA troops also targeted a vehicle in the governorate’s western countryside with an anti-tank guided missile.
These developments came amid reports of unusual movements by the SAA along Greater Idlib’s western front. The SAA may be preparing to launch a ground operation in the al-Ghab Plains, according to a recent report.
Any new operation in Greater Idlib will likely lead to a military confrontation with Turkish forces, which maintain more than 60 posts and camps in the region.
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