Russian air strikes kill 100 Turkey-backed rebels in Syria's Idlib

Clay Curtis
October 28, 2020

Pro-Turkish Syrian rebels pounded Moscow-backed regime forces with rocket and artillery fire in northwest Syria Tuesday, a day after Russian aircraft killed dozens among their ranks, a monitor said.

The Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war from Syria, put the toll at 78 fighters dead and nearly 90 wounded.

Some Faylaq Al Sham combatants have individually gone to fight on the Azeri side in the Caucasus, while the faction has sent more fighters to battle in Libya on the side of the UN-recognised government, the observatory says.

The camp, operated by Faylaq al-Sham, an National Football League faction, was hosting training sessions for new recruits.

The cease-fire has held since March, although Russian Federation has repeatedly complained about the presence of rebel groups.

When the ceasefire was announced, Turkey said it reserved the right to "retaliate with all its strength" against any attack by forces allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Leaders of the camp were among those killed in an air strike in Jabal al Dweila, according to Hammoud.

The opposition vowed to retaliate for the attack on Faylaq al-Sham, blaming Russian Federation for the daytime airstrike.

The war, which broke out after the brutal suppression of anti-regime protests in 2011, has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions from their homes. Russian Federation has negotiated with Ankara to deploy observation teams in the rebel enclave to monitor the truce.

One Facebook group called on Idlib residents to check with hospitals in the city if they are missing relatives, a clear indication many remained unidentified.

Turkey and Russian Federation had brokered a truce in Idlib earlier this year to halt a regime offensive that displaced hundreds of thousands. At least seven people were killed, according to the Observatory.

Sources familiar with the situation in northwest Syria also told MEE that the Turkish military planned to leave four observation posts in Idlib. He said it threatens to unravel the relative stability in Idlib and could lead to new waves of displacement.

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