In Afternoon of March 22, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on radical militants positions in the towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in the eastern Idlib countryside. The airstrikes covered several other towns in the southern part of the governorate.
This was the first time ever Russian warplanes target positions inside al-Fu’ah and Kafriya. The two towns were a stronghold for government supporters up until July of 2018, when all civilians and fighters there were forced to leave after more than three years of siege.
Following the evacuation of the locals, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and several al-Qaeda-affiliated groups took over the two towns. Soon after that thousands of terrorists, mainly foreigners, began to loot and occupy the abandoned houses of the locals.
HTS, backed by many opposition activists, made an attempt to change the names of the two Shiite towns in order to impose a final change. However, they failed.
The Russian Aerospace Forces usually conduct such aerial operations against Idlib militants in response to repeated violations of the demilitarized zone agreement, or to prevent them from launching new attacks.
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