On September 17, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out at least ten airstrikes on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The airstrikes targeted Sheikh Barakat Mount in the outskirts of the town of Darat Izza in the western Aleppo countryside. Several positions and fortifications of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, are located on the mountain. The Turkish military also maintains a post nearby.
According to Syrian pro-opposition activists based in Greater Idlib, the airstrikes were carried out by three Su-34 and Su-24 warplanes.
ثلاث طائرات حربية روسية SU34 – SU24 تناوبت على قصف
منطقة جبل الشيخ بركات ومحيط مدينة دارة عزة بريف حلب الغربي ب 10 غارات جوية… pic.twitter.com/DDVEN3IhU7
— المرصد أبو أمين 80 (@Najdat567) September 17, 2021
— Ammar Alzeer (@AmmarAlzeer) September 17, 2021
The airstrikes were most likely a response to recent violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than a year ago.
A day earlier, the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, which is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, documented 29 attacks by HTS. One of the attacks claimed the life of a Syrian service member.
The ceasefire in Greater Idlib is barely holding up. According to recent reports, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies may kick off a military operation in the region soon. The operation’s main goals will be to deter HTS and reopen the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, known as the M4.
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