Since the morning of June 21, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been shelling Turkish-backed armed opposition groups’ positions in southern Idlib governorate. Several casualties were reported, including one commander of the National Liberation Front (NLF).
According to the reports the SAA artillery targeted the suburbs of the towns of al-Bara, Ehsim, Kansafra, Mashoun and Fleifel in Zawiya Mountain area.
The shelling resulted in the killing of at least 2 fighters of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and 5 NLF members.
The commander of the NLF 1st division, identified as Muhammad Qadi, was reportedly among the victims of the shelling on the Ehsim village in Idlib province.
The shelling of Syrian government forces was reportedly conducted with the air support by Russian warplanes and drones which were spotted over the countryside of Idlib, Hama and Latakia, without conducting any air strikes.
The SAA attack is a response to the recent violation of the ceasefire agreement by militants that resulted in death of a little girl and injuring of another child in the government-held town of Jurin in the northwestern countryside of Hama.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Islam, a close ally of HTS, claimed responsibility for the attack.
After the deadly attack on June 19, Russian warplanes were spotted conducting reconnaissance over Greater Idlib that was a sign of preparing an attack in response to the blatant violation of a ceasefire agreement in the region.
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