UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russian jets destroy terrorist weapons depot in Syria's Idlib

Iran Press TV

Wed Mar 13, 2019 08:37PM

Russian fighter jets have targeted a weapons depot in Syria's terrorist-held Idlib province, as part of the Syrian government's ongoing battle to retake the last bastion of foreign-backed militants in the country.

Russia's defense ministry announced on Wednesday that the warehouse belonged to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group.

According to the statement carried by Russia's RIA news agency, the HTS had been using the building to store drones and other weapons in anticipation of a planned attack on the Russian air base at Hmeimim, in the western province of Latakia.

A ministry official told RIA that Moscow ordered the airstrike after receiving a tip about the delivery of a large number of drones to the depot.

After purging terrorists from most parts of the country thanks to support from Iran and Russia, Syria has been preparing for an offensive on Idlib to free the city.

The so-called safe zones declared in Idlib have seen HTS terrorists attacking Turkish-backed militants from the so-called National Front for Liberation (NFL) in a bid to seize key roads in the province and gain ground in neighboring Hama.

It was reported in January that the Syrian army had dispatched military equipment, including artillery, armored vehicles and personnel carriers, to the outskirts of the western provinces of Hama and Idlib.

However, Damascus had to shelve those plans after Russia and Turkey brokered a cease-fire in September to prevent attacks on the city.

Russia said the Wednesday attack was coordinated with Turkey, which has been trying to avert a Syrian offensive against the city near its borders.

The truce agreement has come under strain recently as the HTS, an al-Qaeda affiliate, continues to grow by defeating rival groups. Syrian army bases and residential areas have come under stepped-up attacks by the group.

Last week, Turkey launched joint military patrols with Russia in to maintain stability in the region and prevent the activities of radical groups.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been open to the idea of a joint attack.

"There is no obstacle for that. Our measures right now are to provide peace, happiness and welfare to the people of Idlib," he said.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list