Russian and Syrian forces launch new airstrikes on Idlib and Hama

World Today

SYRIA-CONFLICTSmoke rises near the Syrian village of Kafr Ain in the southern countryside of Idlib province after an airstrike on September 7, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Anas AL-DYAB)

Russian and Syrian jets resumed strikes on the rebel-held territory in Idlib and Hama Provinces. Witnesses in the area said barrel bombs were used, which Damascus denies.

The United Nations warns of a humanitarian crisis if there’s an all-out offensive. CGTN’S Alaa Ebrahim reports.

Follow Alaa Ebrahim on Twitter @Alaa_Ebrahim_tv

Syrian state news agency SANA reported Sunday that Syrian army units have resumed artillery and missile strikes against militant positions in the northern countryside of Hama province.

It is part of the ongoing operation against rebels in Idlib, the country’s last rebel stronghold. Government-owned media outlets reported that the attacks killed five militants from al-Qaeda Syrian affiliates and destroyed rocket launch pads.

However, opposition sources tell CGTN the ongoing airstrikes are the most intense in weeks. They accuse both the Russian and Syrian air forces of targeting a hospital and civilians homes, but a Syrian army source has denied the reports saying the army’s strikes were accurate and accused rebels of using civilians as human shields.

A United Kingdom-based monitoring group says Syrian helicopters conducted 19 airstrikes while Russian fighters jets staged nearly 70.

Meanwhile, Damascus maintains the much-anticipated offensive on Idlib has not begun yet as eyewitnesses say more Syrian army reinforcements are pouring into the outskirts of Idlib.

Russian forces in Syria are also increasing their presence by bringing more vessels to the Syrian coast and the Russian air base in Khmeimim.

Turkey fears humanitarian crisis as Russia and Syria strike Idlib

Turkey is warning of what officials say could become a humanitarian crisis. CGTN’S Michal Bardavid filed this report from Istanbul.